Europeans ready for cash-free future

Half of Brits with debits cards believe that Europe will be almost cash-free within the next decade, new research shows.

A poll of 3,000 debit cardholders for MasterCard Europe found that 52 per cent expect Europe to be almost cash-free by 2016.

Most of the respondents (94 per cent) appreciated being able to use their debit card anywhere in Europe to withdraw cash and make purchases, while 80 per cent said that cross-border functionality had boosted their card usage, according to Finextra.

Eric Tomlinson, a MasterCard Europe executive, said: "While it's clear that the majority of European consumers surveyed are embracing debit and accept that the decline of cash is inevitable, our research also shows that eight out of ten still carry up to 50 euros in their wallets on an average day."

Mr Tomlinson is calling for a Single European Payments Area (Sepa) to be established as soon as possible.

The survey of consumers in the UK, Germany, Spain, Italy, Belgium and Poland, also found that 63 per cent were in favour of contactless cards for smaller payments.

MasterCard has teamed up with Royal Bank of Scotland to trial PayPass contactless cards in Britain, which enable consumers to pay for items without using a PIN or signing for authorisation.

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