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Is cash on the way out? See our top 10 ways to go cashless

Cashless payments could overtake cash transactions for the first time in 2015, according to the Payments Council.

If you’re considering going cashless, here are 10 different ways to take the plunge, from well-established products like debit and credit cards to more modern options like digital wallets and Bitcoins.

1. Pay direct from a debit card

When you pay with a debit card, the money comes directly out of your account, so there’s no difference to withdrawing cash to pay.

2. Consider paying with a credit card

A credit card lets you spend money on credit (you borrow it from the bank or a credit card company), and can be a safe, secure way to spend.

But if you don’t pay it back straight away you will have to pay interest, so it's important to be disciplined to make sure you don't get into debt.

3. Swipe with a contactless card

A more recent way to use your debit or credit card lets you simply tap it on a reader, making it much quicker.

You don’t use a Pin for this and payments are limited to £20. Not all cards can do this and not all shops have the readers. In London you can even use these cards to pay for tubes and buses. Look out for the contactless symbol for compatibility.
 

4. Spend online instead

Buying things online means you can’t pay with cash. You can use cards or a registered payment service linked to your account such as PayPal.

5. Use your phone number

Paym (pronounced pay-em) is a partnership between many of the banks that lets you send money to someone with just their mobile phone number.

As long as you and the receiver are registered, you use your phone banking apps to pay someone without the need for cash or account numbers and sort codes. The end of having to find the right change to pay your friend back for lunch?

6. Get a digital wallet

This isn’t just cashless shopping, it’s cardless and uses a mobile phone linked to your bank account. They work in different ways. Your handset might have a chip that is swiped in the same way as contactless cards. Others let you pay through scanning a QR code or by ‘checking in’. It’s still in its early days right now, but possibly one for the near future.

7. Send it on an email

Anyone with Google Mail and Google Wallet can now send money as an attachment on their email, though the other person needs to be signed up too.

8. Preload money on a card

A prepaid card is loaded with money in advance. You can only spend the money you put on it so it’s a popular way to give kids an allowance, take money abroad or a handy way to keep to a budget.

9. Buy expensive things with a charge card

Unlike credit cards there’s usually no upper limit on a charge card. You have to pay off all the money you spend on them each month, so they're usually for people with higher incomes and they're not accepted everywhere.

10. Use a store card for your favourite shop

Store cards are a type of credit card you can only use in one chain of shops. They’re only a good idea for people who often spend a lot in a particular store as interest rates can be very high, so need to be handled with care - and discipline.

What do you think?

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  • Chelsea Hancock / 31 January

    I actually hope that cash is not on the way out, even though I am in my twenties and completely up to date with a contactless card, internet banking etc. The only reason being that using cash in stores and organising cash makes me feel more in control of my money, when I can actually see it! In my opinion it is better to pay with cash because you consider how much you are spending more.

  • Derek Roberts / 18 January

    1) Whether you choose to use cash or not, we are all now paying for people to pay by card, because the transaction costs (anything from 1 to 4%) are being passed on to us by the retailers.

    2) We are all walking blindly into a "cashless paradise" because it's "so convenient". When cash is no longer an alternative we can expect two things to happen:

    a) The transaction cost will rise - controlled by companies (Visa, Mastercard, Amex) which all exist outside UK juristiction - because there will be no alternative but to pay their tax

    b) Central banks will impose negative interest rates to force people to spend their savings - because there will be no cash alternative.

    When people keep banging on about the "joy" of being cashless, I just wish they'd think - and then shut up.

  • Paul / 15 March 2016

    The limit for contactless payments has recently been increased to £30, although not all retailers have updated their systems to support the higher limit.

  • NGONGO ABEDI / 20 February 2015

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  • NGONGO ABEDI / 20 February 2015

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  • Janeth / 19 February 2015

    Brilliant.Thank you for all the information.

  • C H Douglas / 8 February 2015

    Cash stops you getting into to debt. banks like you to get into debt you are then their slave for as a long as you owe money. And remember worst of all your card can be "switched off" for any number of reasons,how do you buy food then? Give me cash any day, cards are just for the 999 EVENTS. We know who is behind this propaganda

  • Michael Bolton / 4 February 2015

    So long as you pay all monies by the set date credit cards are well worth considering. Just remember that failure to pay incurs interest charges.