According to new figures, we are using our debit cards more than cash for the first time. I’ll be honest – I was surprised by this. I assumed this happened ages ago but that is because I hardly ever pay for anything with cash. This is mainly because I hardly ever have any on me, but I always have my purse, and worst case scenario I can use my mobile phone to pay for things up to £30 with Apple Pay.
Contactless payments have almost doubled in the last year, with the 25-34 year old age range responsible for the biggest increase. Equally there are some age ranges where their preferred method of payment is still cash – hence how the figures balance. Going forward experts expect the numbers of contactless payments will increase rapidly as more and more devices offer card technology (such as watches and other wearable items).
I recently had an instance where I went to a petrol station and put just under £30 of fuel in my car so I could pay with Apple Pay. I had just been to the tip to get rid of some rubbish and I didn’t have my purse on me. The first two times I tried to pay, it didn’t want to go through. That was a worrying feeling. Fortunately it was third time lucky, but it was quite a worry. My understanding now is that if you genuinely make a mistake and can’t pay for your petrol, most petrol stations will let you fill out a form basically guaranteeing you will make payment within 7 days, but it would have been really embarrassing. Today at work the card machine wasn’t working either – I’m sure they would have let me still have my lunch if I didn’t have a few pounds in the bottom of my purse and pay them back another day – but we might not all be that lucky.
The recent Visa payment issues also give us all a stark warning. I know of a few people who only have Visa cards and were therefore left without any access to any of their funds. They couldn’t withdraw cash or pay on a card (debit or credit card) and were somewhat stuck.
Much as payment technology has come on leaps and bounds, there are clearly many downsides and if I’ve learnt anything, it’s to leave some emergency cash in my purse or car… just in case!