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A shift in consumer spending habits could lead to debt bubble
Thursday 26 Jan 2017 Author: Daniel Coatsworth

Last week’s news about possible fees for withdrawing cash from machines in the Link ATM network puts the spotlight back on the UK’s cash usage.

Many people were outraged at the thought of having fewer free-to-use cash machines in the UK. Yet the public reaction was divided.

Half were angry; the rest said it wasn’t relevant given how many people use cards to pay for everything in their life.

Contactless cards, in particular, are changing our paying habits with alarming pace. A quarter of all card payments are now contactless, according to new figures from The UK Cards Association. You can pay for something under £30 without having to type in your PIN number.

The shift in spending method could benefit pubs, small ticket retailers and leisure firms.

Previously you’d judge whether to buy something under £30 by whether you’d had any spare change or a few tenners in your pocket. Now many people tap their card on the machine with little thought to how much is in their account. Pay now, worry later.

Is this an accident waiting to happen?

The rise in contactless card payments could result in higher consumer debt, in our opinion. It could see people dip into money they’d normally use to buy groceries or even regular savings and potentially leave them in a pickle when the important bills need settling. (DC)

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