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Back to the Future

Back to the Future Day – 30 years of your money

Today – October 21, now known as ‘Back to the Future Day’ - is the day Marty and Doc crashed into the future in the second instalment of the movie franchise.

We haven’t quite got flying cars and talking jackets yet – or time travel. But how we pay for stuff has certainly evolved in the past 30 years.

Which of these money habits do you recognise – and which of these predictions do you think will come true in the next three decades?

How we paid for things 30 years ago

When was the last time you wrote a cheque for something?

Cheque use peaked in 1990 when 11 million cheques were issued every day, compared with just 1.8 million in 2014.

The rise of plastic

These days, we don’t think twice about whipping out our debit card to pay for our online shopping, but in the 1980s both of these were only just emerging. 

The debit card was first introduced in the UK in 1987, according to the Payments Council. And the first online shop was ordered by Gateshead grandmother Jane Snowball in 1984 (an order for margarine, cornflakes and eggs, in case you wanted to know).

Future predictions for your money  

Could the humble note and coin be on their way out? Payments UK reckons non-cash payments will exceed cash for the first time just next year.

The poor cheque may find itself even more sidelined, as use is forecast to decline to 0.4% of our transactions by 2024.

And what about mobile payments? Marty may not have had a smartphone, but more than one in ten (13%) of UK adults have now made a mobile payment in-store and 40% have bought something with their phone according to financial firm Deloitte.

Deloitte also claims these numbers are only going to rise.

Will you be jumping on board for mobile payments?

Could contactless payments take off?

In the film, Marty’s nemesis Biff pays for a taxi using a thumb print.

We may not be quite there yet, but there has certainly been an increase in contactless payments. In fact, in this year alone, contactless payments have gone up by nearly 220% according to the UK Cards Association.

Protect your money for the future  

There are ways you can make sure you use it to cover yourself and provide for your future.

Three months of living expenses to cover yourself for any money shocks, such as redundancy or the boiler breaking, is a good goal to aim for.

In another 30 years many more of us will be retired. But how prepared are you really? Don’t just rely on the State Pension – it’s never too early to think about how you will provide for yourself in retirement.    


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