Card payments 'to overtake cash'

Credit cardsCard payments will overtake cash in the next decade amid a continuing shift in the way consumers spend their money, according to new figures.

The number of transactions using cash is expected to decline from 21 billion in 2012 to 14 billion in 2022, the Payments Council said.

Meanwhile the use of consumer cards is set to rise from 10 billion to 17 billion, driven primarily by the increasing use of e-commerce as well as contactless cards at shop counters, it is predicted.

Mobile payments are also expected to increase with the introduction of new technology to make account-to-account transfers using only a phone number and the use of mobile device apps to replace card usage.

However, the staying power of supposedly obsolete forms of payment is illustrated by the use of the cheque, with reports of its demise apparently proving exaggerated.

They are forecast to be used in 341 million transactions in 2022, including 186 million by consumers.

It is a decline of more than half on 2012's 848 million cheques - and is a fraction of the four billion in 1990 - but means they will continue to enjoy a significant degree of use four years after they were due to be scrapped.

The Payments Council had planned to phase out the paper payment method by 2018, saying it was in "terminal decline" but was forced to back down after an outcry led by pensioners' groups.

Direct debit use is forecast to grow by 20% to around 3.7 billion payments in 2022, driven by increased uptake in regular commitments including mortgages, household bills and wage payments.

One-off payments from accounts, driven by the use of mobile and internet banking, are expected to grow from 356 million to around 1.5 billion.

The council said that in 2012, 32.5 million people accessed their bank accounts using a "remote channel", with around 10 million doing so using a mobile device.

Nearly 40 million people bought goods or services online last year, mainly using cards, with the number expected to increase over the decade.

The Payments Council predicts population and economic growth will mean consumer payments are worth more than £2 trillion in 2022, up from £1.3 trillion in 2012.

Its forecasts are based on expert assessment taking into account latest data and technological innovations over the coming years.