9 in 10 customers don’t pay with cash

By Amelie Maurice-Jones

- Last updated on GMT

Cashless society: Customers shun cash for contactless payments (Getty/ monkeybusinessimages)
Cashless society: Customers shun cash for contactless payments (Getty/ monkeybusinessimages)

Related tags Finance Cga Zonal retail data

Nearly nine in 10 consumers (89%) use cards or contactless payment all or most times they visit a pub, bar or restaurant, while new payment tech grows in popularity, according to recent research.

The balance of payment methods has tipped decisively​ from cash to card, the latest GO Technology report from hospitality tech provider Zonal and insight firm CGA also revealed.

Paypal found 72% of people no longer regularly paid with cash at hospitality venues and 69% of UK consumers now withdraw cash less than once a week.

However, card payments are also in danger, with mobile methods and wearable tech growing in popularity. Nearly a quarter (24%) of consumers said they frequently used mobile wallets like Apple or Google Pay while out, and almost one in seven (13%) consumers said they used a device like a smart watch every or most times they were out – rising to 25% of 18- to 34-year-olds.

The future is now

Furthermore, a significant number of people expressed interest in newer technologies like ‘pay-with-your-face’ recognition software, which a third (34%) of people said they find appealing.

Close behind are options like digital IDs (33%), ‘invisible’ payments or just walk-out technology (31%), which is currently available in Amazon’s ‘Amazon Fresh’ stores, and microchips under the skin (29%).

While recent reports have suggested cash may have a mini revival as people look to manage money amidst a cost-of-living crisis, the research decisively shows hospitality operators will need to ensure they are staying up to date with the latest payment technologies to stay ahead of competition.

Zonal chief marketing and sales officer Olivia FitzGerald said there had certainly been a behaviour-shift in the sector, with more people switching to digital forms of payment like apps, mobiles and wearables.

Culture shift

While cash was still an option for some, she believed the overwhelming use of digital payment and the growing interest in futuristic and ‘invisible’ payment methods showed attitudes had shifted hugely.

“The move towards a cashless society was accelerated by the pandemic, but our research shows the shift is here to stay and we’ve reached a tipping point where venues will miss out on business if they can't keep up,” she added.

CGA hospitality operators and food, EMEA, director Karl Chessell agreed the research showed cash was steadily being replaced by card and device-led payments.

He said: “Covid triggered a major shift to contactless methods for safety, and many consumers will be taking those habits into the future.

“The need for hygiene also prompted some operators to create cash-free venues, and they too are unlikely to revert to pre-Covid models.”

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