From cash to cards: How payments have changed under the Queen’s reign

Published on 1 January 1970 by Raffick Marday

As the public jubilee celebrations come to a close, new research has demonstrated the change in the way payments have been made over the last 60 years.

According to Lloyds TSB, the UK banking and payments industry has dramatically changed. When Queen Elizabeth II took the throne in 1952 there were just two methods of payment: cash and cheques. With no telephone, internet or mobile banking available, the choice for completing transactions was limited.

Fast forward 60 years and consumers are faced with a huge variety of choice in terms of how payments can be made.

It wasn’t until 1966 that the UK’s first credit card was commercially available. One year later the first cash machine in the world was installed in Enfield, Greater London.

Despite the evolving landscape of payments, cash still remains the most popular method of exchange.

In 2009, around 21.2 billion cash payments were made, representing two-thirds of all payments. However, around 75% of cash transactions had a value of less than £10.

Debit and credit cards have revolutionised the way people pay for goods and services, with around 85% of the nation owning a debit card.

Jatin Patel, director of current accounts for Lloyds TSB, commented: "The way in which we pay for goods and services has changed dramatically over the past 60 years. Cheque usage grew rapidly between 1952 and 1990 but has since been in decline as we have increasingly turned to plastic cards.

“We have also seen great technological change since Queen Elizabeth II came to the throne, with the introduction of cash machines and telephone banking. The inventions of both the internet and mobile phones are also transforming banking.

"No doubt we will continue to see substantial changes in the way we make payments over the coming years, as we have seen over the past 60 years."


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