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The Payments Council, an organization representing the interests of the U.K. payment industry, has released a new report on the way Britons pay for things. According to the group, the trends are pointing towards a future when plastic is eclipsed by the mobile device.
According to the new report, called "The Way We Pay," paying for goods and services has changed dramatically in the past 10 years, with the use of checks dropping by half every five years.
Cash use has also dropped considerably. Since 2001, retail purchases made with cash have dropped from 43 percent to 30 percent. The difference is due to the rise of debit cards. Spending on debit cards has increased almost fourfold since 2001, the council said.
Additionally, the U.K. Payment Council said contactless payment technology is starting to become more familiar. The organization said that while most of those payments are made with cards enabled with the technology, it's possible to see more mobile devices do the job.
"We scarcely notice the steady changes in the way we pay, yet someone in their thirties today will see more change in their lifetime than in the entire history of money," said Adrian Kamellard, chief executive of the Payments Council.
"Even recent innovations such as payment via a mobile phone, which ten years ago some felt to be science fiction, will soon be commonplace."
Kamellard said the 2000s were the decade of the debit card but the 2010s are likely to be the decade of the mobile phone.
"Just as we can’t imagine how we ever did without the Internet, many people will soon wonder how we used to be so dependent on cash and check. Twenty years from now even cards may seem archaic," Kamellard said. "The wallet could become a historical curiosity."
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