Automated payments in the ascendancy as use of cash continues to decline

29 April 2014

  • Automated payments such as Direct Debits and Standing Orders are now being used for more than a fifth (22%) of all consumer transactions
  • Use of cash continues to decline, and now represents just 17% of transactions

Paying for goods and services in cash is becoming increasingly rare as consumers embrace the convenience of plastic and automated payments, according to new current account data from Halifax*.

Halifax customer data shows how spending habits are evolving, with plastic and automated payments now the most popular method of payment by both volume and size of transactions. At the same time peoples’ use of cash (including cash withdrawals at ATMs and over the counter, and cashback in shops) and cheque is decreasing year on year.

The way we spend

Debit cards remain the most popular method of payment and they’re now used in 56% of all transactions. At the same time, for every £100 customers spend, over a quarter (£28.87) goes on debit card, with a further quarter (£27.72) accounted for by automated payments, with direct debits alone now accounting for £19.90 of every £100 spent.

However, cash usage continues to decline, both as a proportion of transactions – representing just 17% of activity (down 1.8% in the last year) and £17.99 of every £100 spent (down £3.03 in the last year).

Cheque payments now account for £11.28 of every £100 spent, but in terms of the number of transactions they only have a 1.7% share

Breakdown of every £100 spent by Halifax customers

Type of payment


Payment by debit card


Direct Debit




Faster Payment


Cheque payment


Standing order


Bill payment


Anthony Warrington, Director, Personal Current Accounts, Halifax, says:

"Cash continues to decline as more and more people prefer the convenience of paying on plastic and setting up automated payments for regular purchases. As the number of outlets and applications for debit cards continues to increase we’ve seen a corresponding decline in the use of cash.”



* Includes active Halifax current account customers

* *Cash includes cash withdrawals at ATMs, over the counter, and cashback in shops 






Automated payments ascend