Skip to main content Accessibility Statement

Could you do without cash?

As one in three Brits say they think we’ll be a cashless society in 20 years, we look at the alternatives available now if you want to dump the coins and notes in your wallet.

There are so many ways to pay when you shop that it’s no surprise some people are looking towards a time when they can go cashless. Even if it doesn’t disappear completely, it’s likely we’ll see the use of cash decline – but not just yet.

The Cashing In report from YouGov shows cash is still the most popular way to pay. Four in five (82%) of people use cash when out shopping, with a quarter doing so every day.

But alternatives to cash are becoming more popular. Seven in ten frequently use Chip and Pin and half (49%) use contactless.

So what are the ways you can go cashless when out and about?

Chip and pin

You’ll all be familiar with this way to use your debit and credit cards. Simply memorise a four-digit PIN which you use to authorise payments.


Most bank cards are now fitted with a contactless chip allowing you to tap and pay. There’s a limit of £30 per transaction though, so it’s really only for small purchases.

Mobile phone handset

Apple, Android and Samsung phones are largely all now fitted with a chip similar to the one in contactless cards. You connect your bank cards to a digital wallet on your phone and payments and tap your phone on the card reader to pay.


Many shops, restaurants and even places like car parks have apps which let you enter a code to identify your location/table and let you quickly pay.

Via a phone number

You can transfer money to friends simply by tapping in their mobile phone number into your banking app – as long as they’ve registered with Paym. You can only link one bank account to your phone number.

With a keyring, sticker or wristband

More ways to pay via a chip. It’s possible to buy products with a chip built in, or put a sticker on almost anything, and tap and pay. You often need to top these up as you go along rather than connect them to your bank account.

When cash can help

Despite all these other ways to pay, cash still has benefits.

  • For a start it’s a great tool to help you budget. If you go out with just cash – and only as much as you can afford to spend – it’s not possible to overspend.
  • There’s also an advantage in that physically handing over cash can make you think twice about a purchase. You’ll think more about how much the item is costing, rather than unconsciously tap and go with a card.
  • Similarly, it’s also easier to track how much you do spend as you can quickly count what is left, rather than rely on payments to update in your banking app.
  • Plus there are still businesses which are cash only, or some that charge more if you want to use a card.
  • Another trick where cash can be handy is the jam-jar approach where you separate money for different expenses such as rent, gas bill and food into individual pots, often actual emptied out and cleaned jam-jars (hence the name). This ensures you have enough money each month to fund essentials. However there are pros and cons, so check out the article below for more on this.

What do you think?

We really want you to share your views, but please remember to be nice ☺
All fields are required. Check out our full commenting guidelines

By clicking on 'Post Comment', you're agreeing to our Commenting Policy