* Week by week percentage change in number of contactless payments in brackets.
There were some significant regional3 differences in the amount of contactless payments made by Nationwide members over the same period (23 March to 31 May). While the South East had the most contactless payments with 14.48 million made by the Society’s members, compared to just 7.39 million in Scotland and Northern Ireland.
Despite six in ten (62%) people admitting to using cash less often since lockdown, this trend could outlast the outbreak. According to Nationwide’s research, half (50%) of respondents say they will use cash less in future. More than a third (35%) of this group say this is because they are worried about using cash as a result of Covid-19, while 61 per cent have started using other methods to make payments. More than a quarter (27%) are committed to doing more shopping online in the future.
When it comes to gender, some 68 per cent of women have reduced their use of cash since lockdown, compared to 56 per cent of men. When looking at age demographics, three quarters (75%) of those aged 55 and over have decreased cash usage compared to just 48 per cent of people aged 16-24 and 57 per cent of those aged between 35 and 44. Regionally, seven in ten (70%) residents in the South West admit their cash usage has decreased compared to just over half (51%) in London.
Payments aside, a third of Brits (33%) have used lockdown to try out mobile and online banking for the first time, while a quarter (25%) say this period had made them more comfortable with making mobile payments. Two in five (40%) people in London and the North East admitted lockdown have used mobile or online banking for the first time compared to just one in five (20%) in the East and a quarter (25%) in the South East.4
The research also shows one in five people (20%) have turned to ‘money laundering’ – cleaning their cash due to concerns around Covid-19. More than half (58%) have used anti-bacterial wipes, in excess of a third (35%) have done so in the sink with soap and water, while more than one in five (23%) have put their cash in the washing machine.
Mark Nalder, Nationwide’s Head of Payments, said: “As lockdown restrictions continue to ease, it is evident the pandemic could have a lasting impact on how people pay for things. Far from heralding the death of cash, a shift towards mobile payments and online and mobile banking will help people keep track of their spending and better manage their money. Although we don’t expect cash to return to pre Covid-19 levels, it is highly likely cash usage will increase post-lockdown as the high street begins to reopen, even if that means the use of card payments – via contactless, phone or another device – rise in tandem. Regardless of what happens in future, we will continue to provide our members with a choice of ways to pay that meets their needs and circumstances, whether that’s free access to cash via our ATMs inside and outside our branches or new innovative ways to pay and transact.”