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One third of Britons never carry cash

One third of Britons never carry cash

The UK public’s preference for non-cash payments continues, according to research by Pennies, the microdonations platform. They report that 30% of us regularly leave the house without any cash, relying on credit or debit cards and digital and mobile payment methods.

At the same time, cards are being used for small payments that would previously have been settled with cash. Pennies says that 47% of 16-24 year olds use their plastic cards for payments of under £2, and 75% of them use them for payments under £5.

The research was carried out by markettiers4dc who surveyed 2,040 people.

Small payments challenge to businesses and charities

The move to digital payments is causing problems for some small businesses. One in five people said that they had abandoned a purchase when they found they were unable to pay by card.

Charities too should be aware that 55% of those surveyed said that they barely noticed the traditional charity collecting box anymore. Indeed, 12% of 16-24 year olds said that they would be more likely to donate to charity via a smart device.

While Pennies doesn’t address the micropayments issue, it does offer charities an additional benefit when customers pay by card. At participating retailers they can choose to donate anything from 1p to 99p when they pay by card.

The scheme’s partners include Domino’s Pizza, ASK Italian, Monarch Airlines, Screwfix, and The Fragrance Shop. So far Pennies has raised more than £2.4 million for 100 charities.

Alison Hutchinson, CEO of Pennies said:

“With an increasing number of people not carrying cash on them anymore we’re pleased to be able to give people a way to still give micro-donations.  These could otherwise be lost, and despite being small add up quickly to make a huge difference to the charities who receive them. Last week alone we saw more than 100,000 donations made via Pennies.”

Other findings

The survey also found that:

  • 62% of respondents say that giving to charity can make them feel good
  • 69% think an update of the charity box will make the UK more generous
  • One in five of us wouldn’t bother to pick up anything less than 20p from the floor
  • People don’t want to give more than £1 in a charity box – 93%


Photo: two one pound coins by Daniele Carotenuto on 


Howard Lake is a digital fundraising entrepreneur. Publisher of UK Fundraising, the world's first web resource for professional fundraisers, since 1994. Trainer and consultant in digital fundraising. Founder of Fundraising Camp and co-founder of Research massive growth in giving.

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