Cash continues to be king as consumers and businesses spent a total of £15.4 billion in notes and coins last year, down 11% from £17.2 billion in 2015.
Figures from UK Finance show cash represented 44% of all payments made by consumers in 2016.
The average value of cash payments increased over the last decade – from £11.58 billion to £15.8 billion – as card payments have increasingly been used to make low-value payments.
61% of cash payments were for either £5 or less and 26% for £1 or less.
1 in 10 young adults aged 25 to 34 relied predominantly on card payments, using cash once or less each month.
In contrast, there were 2.7 million consumers (roughly 5% of the adult population) who relied solely on notes and coins to make their day-to-day payments last year.
The total number of cash payments is forecast to fall by 43% over the next decade to £8.7 billion as more consumers turn to contactless cards.
Adrian Buckle, chief economist at UK Finance, said:
“Over the past few years we have witnessed a significant shift away from cash use in this country with contactless cards causing a decrease in the use of notes and coins.
“People will always want to choose the payment methods that best suit them and, for the foreseeable future, that will continue to be cash.”
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