Half of Britons won’t use their card for small payments

Matthew SmithHead of Data Journalism
October 15, 2019, 9:27 AM GMT+0

Older Britons are even more reluctant to use their flexible friend if they’re not spending much

Debit card payments may have overtaken cash, but a new YouGov Realtime survey shows that almost half of Britons are still unwilling to use their card for small items.

When asked if there are some sums too small to pay with a card, 47% said yes, while an identical 47% said it was always acceptable to pay on plastic no matter how small the bill.

Opinion splits strongly along generational lines, with older Britons being substantially more likely to reserve their card for larger payments than younger Britons.

For example, while only 17% of those aged from 18 to 24 won’t use their card for small payments, this figure rises to as high as 76% among Brits aged 65 and above. This is doubtless ingrained behaviour for many people; a result of the fact that in decades past transactions below a certain value were either against shop policy or incurred a charge.

We also asked those who are reluctant to make small card payments what their minimum card purchase would be. The overwhelming majority (94%) wouldn’t go down to £1, while 78% would also consider a £2 purchase too low. Half (51%) would be unwilling to pay for something worth a fiver on card, but only 16% say the same of shopping valued at £10.

The data shows that older Britons are setting their minimum card spend at a higher point than younger people. For instance, while 69% of 25 to 49-year-old Britons with a policy not to spend below a certain amount won’t break out the card for a £2 spend, this figure is 83% among those aged 65. Likewise, while only 46% of 25 to 49 year olds in this group won’t use their card to make a £4 payment, this figure rises to 63% of 65 year olds.

Photo: Getty

See the full results here

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