Rural and older consumers join cashless payments revolution

Wednesday 2nd February 2022

  • Research finds 55% of UK consumers living in rural areas feel prepared for the transition to a cashless society
  • Older generations embracing boom in cashless technology – 66% of 55+ year olds more comfortable with cashless payments since lockdown
  • Overall, 68% of UK consumers more confident making cashless transactions since lockdown
  • Concerns around fraud, cashless payments acceptance availability and fear of technical issues are prevalent

Research of 2,000 UK consumers shows that individuals polled across rural areas have been able to bridge the gap when it comes to cashless payment habits.

Over half of those living rurally (55%) now feel prepared for the transition to a cashless society. Interestingly, seven out of 10 (70%) of those in rural areas are more comfortable using cashless payments since the lockdown began – more than those in urban areas (66%).

More broadly, over two thirds (68%) of consumers are now more accepting of making cashless payments since the COVID-19 outbreak, while around half (52%) feel prepared for a transition to a largely cashless life.

With health concerns of using cash under lockdown, the research also found one in ten consumers going contactless for the first time.

Across the age groups, two thirds (66%) of over 55s feel more comfortable in using cashless payments since lockdown began. The research shows they aren’t far behind younger counterparts, as 16-24 year olds were only slightly more comfortable making cashless payments (67%). Those aged 35-44 years old came out on top (72%), followed by 25-34 year olds (70%) and 45-54 year olds (69%).

However, prevailing concerns about the shift in using alternative payment methods will need to be addressed as more non-essential retail businesses welcome back customers. This was particularly clear amongst the over 55s, with the biggest cashless concerns being fraud (42%), cashless payments acceptance availability (31%) and dealing with technical issues (30%).

The use of cash in everyday life has been in a steady decline over recent years and since the start of the pandemic, UK consumer have opted to use chip & pin, contactless and mobile payments instead.

According to new data released by UK Finance, during 2020, the volume of contactless payments made in the UK rose by 12% to 9.6 billion payments. Overall, contactless payments accounted for more than 27% of all UK payments – which is a 7% increase over the last four years.