Debit cards overtake cash for first time in Britain

3rd December 2010, Comments 0 comments

Debit cards have now overtaken cash as the most popular method of paying in Britain, figures out Friday showed.

On August 30, the amount of money people had spent on debit cards since the beginning of the year overtook the value of transactions paid for in cash, said the Payments Council.

People spent 272 billion pounds (426 billion dollars, 321 billion euros) with their debit cards and 269 billion pounds in cash, said the council, a body of British financial institutions which sets the national payment mechanisms strategy.

People used their debit cards three times more often than their credit cards, the council said.

"Cash is too cumbersome for many consumers these days -- they prefer a card for anything more than the smallest transactions," said communications director Sandra Quinn.

"We now expect our debit cards to be accepted everywhere we go -- in pubs and clubs, at the corner shop, online and on the high street.

"Having quickly supplanted cheques, then claimed the scalp of credit cards, they have now usurped cash's throne too."

The Payments Council announced in December last year that it planned to end the use of cheques by October 2018.

© 2010 AFP

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