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Do you still carry cash?


Do you still pay for most things in cash or do you find yourself relying more and more on contactless or chip and Pin cards?

In November, the ATM industry body warned that 10,000 free cashpoints could disappear from Britain’s high streets within four years, with usage apparently falling.

Many of you shared concerns about losing free-to-use cash machines, and I was certainly one of them – being charged to access your own money just doesn’t sit right. In our poll, an overwhelming 82% of you agreed, saying you would never pay to withdraw money.

Visiting the cashpoint

While I’m fully against cashpoints that charge to withdraw, all this did get me thinking about how often I actually withdraw cash from one.

It then dawned on me that I only really visit a cashpoint once a week – on my way to play football for my Saturday team.

The only way to pay the referee after a game is in cash. The pitch also needs paying for, and what’s left over the club uses to buy everyone a drink in the pub after the game.

It costs £10 for a home game (£5 if you only end up playing a half) and £7 for an away game. And as myself and the teammates I share a lift with rarely have any cash on us, we have to drive to the game via a cashpoint to get out our subs.

Sorting out the cash in the changing room after a game can also feel like a dated affair, as most of the team hands over notes and the person in charge of collecting the subs never has enough loose change to give back. Oh, for a contactless card reader! Still, I’m not expecting refs to come equipped with these any time soon.

Contactless generation

For me, my teammates and other friends of a similar age (around 28, if you’re wondering), contactless cards have completely revolutionised our spending habits.

None of us really like to carry too much cash simply because there’s hardly anything that we really need it for on a day-to-day basis: we can buy most things by placing our contactless cards on a reader or, failing that, by entering our Pin.

But could this be a generational thing? While many in my age group don’t seem to carry cash at all, it’s a completely different story for my dad – I don’t think he’s ever used his card to make a contactless payment!

Do you still carry cash on a regular basis? If so, what do you use it for? Do you prefer using it to contactless payments or a chip and Pin card?


I need cash, for the lottery, for some sports I play and raffles, for small purchases (some shops have a minimum amount before they will accept a credit card), an occasional coffee or drink out, a repayment to someone, help for my children or birthday present………. I don’t use a contactless card, just chip and pin and yes, I still want cash. I have no problem taking enough from a cash machine, or my bank branch, to keep my needs supplied. I haven’t used cashback at my supermarket yet, but could if needed.

Having had my wallet stolen with cash in it several times over the years, I haven’t carried more than about £20 around with me for about a decade. I personally love chip and Pin/contactless. Before they were invented, I’d invariably have to visit the cashpoint a few times on nights out!

I keep a £20 note separately about my person for emergencies only. If I had my wallet stolen I would lose cards as well as cash. Best to keep a second credit card at home in case of loss.

Stolen several times ?? Are you just a careless person ? once ! but several times ! maybe stolen by force maybe I do not know

I’m a big fan of contactless payments, they’re very easy for me – especially when travelling on the tube, you can just tap in and out.

They’re also very easy to spend money with and you do not realise how much you’ve spent. I’m going to try and use more cash, as a way of budgeting!

Hmmm…I prefer Oyster. I always worry about using a credit or debit card in a place like a tube station at any time.

The only contactless payments [wrong name – I tend to make contact] I have made have been with my Oyster card. I always like to have some coins and notes on me. I need a pound coin for the supermarket trolley, a couple of quid for the charity bucket. I might buy a newspaper or magazine when out and about, perhaps a drink or a sandwich, some fruit & veg and some plants at the market. On the way home there is a roadside stall selling eggs and honey via an honesty box. And putting some air in the tyres requires a coin; as well as going to the toilet at major London stations. It’s amazing how fast the notes go, really.

Guess I could be the odd one out, wild horses couldn’t make me use contactless, as I have zero faith in a banks ability to do security properly. I can still recall stories of people cancelling contactless cards when they’ve been stolen and the criminals still able to make payments with them months later.

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Jill says:
7 January 2018

Guess I’m the same. I would rather have the extra security of a pin no. than use contactless. Also still need cash for some things such as coffee cabin on dog walks, farmers market (small independent businesses) and paying the window cleaner.
And there’s also the hassle of paying in those Christmas cheques (from older relatives) when you no longer have a bank branch near your home or work!

My husband very rarely uses his card because he knows he can nearly always get a discount for cash on larger items, has done for years.

Always in shops, I never pay with a card.

I still use cash as I don’t feel that contactless or chip and pin are secure as on a number of occasions fraud has been committed on my account several time’s in the past 5yrs even though my bank has refuned where it was a fraud which has been on every occasion.

Most shop assistants (not shopkeepers )prefer you to use a card (contactless prefered ) because it easier and quicker and no counting out change (filthy coins notes) with a card you have gone while others are still waiting for their change I do carry a little cash in £5 notes and £1 coins no more than £30 from the band at any time Do you offer a £20 note from a cash machine for a small purchase ?? The assistants do not like you doing that just takes more time leading to frustrated waiting customers Both cash and cards need keeping in a safe place at all times Cards are not just a bit of plastic but your money

Most shop assistants these days are not able to count or do “Mental Arithmetic”

What do schools teach these days ???

They do teach sums, but sadly not science or technology at the Primary level all that well.

My grandson was a clever clogs with numbers in the first year at primary school all were supposed to be able to count to ten clever clogs could count to over an hundred and get it right every time He still is good with numbers several years later some can handle numbers some cannot

I have always been good with mental arithmetic – I used to get myself off to sleep by doing multiplication and sums using Roman numerals – so I often go around the supermarket totting up the prices of the goods in the trolley. Sadly, I suffer from the arrogance of saying “Correct!” when the young lady at the checkout with the bright blue hair tells me it’s £34.76. She usually gives me TWO tokens to put in the charity box.

I used to add up the prices of what was in my trolley and still do if there I know I have to spend £40 to use a £5 voucher, etc.

I was never good with Mathematics. Sums I can do, but I still remember my first Maths lesson in the Grammar school. The little, bald teacher (who routinely sucked his chalk…) stood in front of the class and stated “What is X? X is the unknown factor”, the point at which I decided Maths wasn’t for me.

When helping our sons (many years later) with algebra, I discovered it was probably relatively easy and was able to teach them quadratic equation solving without any real problems. But I suspect Maths has its own language and I was already happy with the two I knew best: English and Music. Had Maths been delivered better I might have enjoyed it but it wasn’t so I didn’t.

I still like to carry cash because I don’t have much faith in the contactless system due to a rise in fraud and cybercrime and the lack of security some banks have for victims of these crimes (not very effective preventative measures in place either). Also, you can’t exactly give homeless people contactless payments can you? Its quite handy in my opinion to have some cash on you for emergencies and personally id rather have cash stolen from me rather than a credit card 😉

As I have previously said the choice is “still” yours for now anyway but things could change the future of most things is unknown and unsure WW3 might happen then all are doomed But look on the bright side it again might not

My whole family pay for virtually everything in cash,why should we pay an extra percentage to the banks for convenience they rob us enough anyway.People are blind & disillusioned,if everybody went cashless do you think the banks would charge 2% on every transaction,no they would then have the monopoly & that would rise to at least 5% on everything you buy ,more money for the banks ,what mugs we are.cash is king.

Everybody STILL has their own choice ! Cash, card or whatever the choice is YOURS

Dave M says:
4 January 2018

I have had the same few notes in my wallet for several weeks with most payments contactless with an Apple Watch. I feel much safer using the watch as there is no pin to enter and I don’t need to get my wallet out. If the Watch falls off or is stolen, it locks. Even the credit cards are being used less with many stores now accepting Apple Pay above the usual £30 contactless limit.

I don’t carry cash at all if I can help it, and I get very annoyed when I need to go out my way to get some! I find it really inconvenient. Also if I have loose change on me, then I tend to spend it on vending machines at work, which is another reason not to carry any. I wish that more people could accept card, contactless or paypal. A great example is when a charity of some sort is collecting while I’m leaving the supermarket. I would love to donate there and then, but it’s cash only for that sort of thing 🙁

I hardly ever carry cash either, I try to leave my purse at home if I can help it and just take a few cards with me. Contactless payments are so much quicker than fiddling around with change! And it feels safer, too.

I always use contactless via my phone. I have even swapped from Apple Pay to Android Pay with no issue. When I travel in London I use my Oyster card. When I need to spend more than contactless allows or if the place can’t handle it (I am amazed how many big stores like Homebase and Currys still can’t handle it) then I use my credit card. I still carry cash for those odd occasions I need it but that’s very rare now. So I get cash out about once a month or less, and rarely carry more than 50 quid. I never carry coins and try to offload them ASAP.
I always have a record of what I spent where which I can put into my expenditure analysis. I am fully safeguarded against fraud and theft, provided I don’t do anything stupid.
I know plenty of people that never use contactless tech or even online banking, as they are worried about what could go wrong. I suspect it will be a generation before we can seriously think of getting rid of cash. When that day comes I don’t know how we give money to buskers and Big Issue sellers. Maybe by then we will all be chipped at birth so we don’t have to carry anything.

I always carry cash and often use it for small transactions.

I prefer to use a contactless card in supermarkets and other busy places where there is the risk that someone might see me enter my PIN, despite my efforts to conceal it. I do check my statement and have not seen a single unexpected payment.

Cash and cheques remain vital forms of payment for small charities that want to do something more useful with their funds than invest in expensive technology to accept card payments.

Bank statements are much shorter and easier to check if cash is mainly used in shops, petrol stations etc.

Do you know just where you cash was spent ? Do you hoard receipts ? or don’t you care how you spend it ? A easier way not to know how much you spend using cash is it

I use my contactless card for convenience – perfect for when I’ve forgotten to top up my Oyster, and for making small purchases in shops. That said, I feel far more aware of how much I’m spending when I use cash, and feel less of an urge to splurge.

Andrew M says:
5 January 2018

I always use cash except for things over £30 typically, as I usually carry about £50 at any one time. I am not interested in electronic systems, too easy to hack. I never use my phone for payments, ditto reason and if your phone is stolen what then?
Better to lose cash than a phone with all sorts of things on it.

I pay almost everything with contactless or chip and pin credit card. Being able to get cash through a cash machine is still important, but I’ll do this once/month, at the most. A big problem is getting the coins I need for milk money at work and tea money at church.

Support your local bank branch and ask for change for a tenner . . . and see if the Church will take folding money.

Do as I do ! go into my bank and withdraw my cash in they denominations I want usually a £5 and the rest in £1 coins I do not problems doing just that most banks are open longer now some on Saturdays as well It takes me weeks before I spend the note

Cash is still essential for many things such as charity donations, and that isn’t going to change any time soon. I hate the stuff though, and just carry a couple of low-value notes with me, never coins. Any coins I receive get saved up and used at home for charity collections and the like. I can’t remember the last time I used an ATM except for paying cheques in.

I love contactless, especially using my Apple Watch which makes it incredibly easy to pay – I don’t even have to fish in my pocket for a wallet or card. The Watch is brilliant for paying bus and tube fares too, even easier in London than using an Oyster card.

How easy does paying with an Oyster card have to be? I sometimes think we are agonising over milliseconds.