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Cash remains king, but cards gain ground

Using cash is still the most popular way to pay for goods, according to figures released today.Data from Apacs, the UK payments association, show that cash accounts for six in ten of all day-to day payments despite the ongoing migration by consumers to plastic cards.Over 96 per cent of all payments under £5 in value were made with cash in 2006. Cash payments were especially prevalent in the travel and entertainment sectors - on buses, in pubs and clubs, and to pay for meals out or take-aways - where they accounted for eight out of ten of all payments."We are all still carrying around quite a bit of cash because, despite our continuing love affair with our cards, cash remains first choice for small value payments such as for a pint of milk or our morning paper," Sandra Quinn, director of communications at Apacs, said."However, this may all change with the arrival of contactless technology on our cards, starting later this year. This will enable us to choose to use our cards more quickly and conveniently for transactions under £10. Pre-paid cards are also starting to take off and they are likely to become more widely used for small value transactions."Ms Quinn added: "Although the way we are using cash is changing significantly, we expect the likelihood of Britain becoming a cashless society in the foreseeable future to be similar to us all working in paperless offices. "We have been using notes in Britain for over 300 years and we expect that we will continue to do so in significant amounts for a long time to come."Acquisition of cash from cash machines has grown dramatically - in 2005 £179.8 billion was withdrawn from ATMs compared to just £80.2 billion in 1996.

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