Research from Clydesdale and Yorkshire Banks released last week revealed that Britain is increasingly becoming a cash-free zone. According to the study, 29% of people now withdraw less than 10% of their income, meaning that our old friend the ATM is starting to look very lonely indeed.
Credit and debit cards are expected to reign above all over forms of payment, triumphant over cash, direct debits, standing orders and online transactions.
But why the popularity of plastic? Well, as long as they're used cautiously, they have a number of benefits and advantages that you would do well to take advantage of.
Ease of use The simple truth is that it's easy to buy things with a credit card. Indeed, to purchase services from some companies, they're actually a necessity. Most airlines, hotels and car rental agencies actually refuse other forms of payment in favour of the plastic.
They can also allow quick access to cash in an emergency, such as a car breakdown or flood that you hadn't budgeted for. If you don't have access to funds but will do by next month, they can be an extremely attractive option.
Protection of purchases Anyone who has bought something online for over £100 only to have it lost, stolen or damaged in transit will attest to the awesome power of credit card purchase protection. If any of these things happen to you, it's a relatively painless experience to get your money back if you've paid on a credit card.
Rewards As well as the benefits listed above, credit cards often come with a number of rewards or benefits, including travel discounts, free air miles and special insurances. These bonuses can be extremely lucrative provided you're remembering to pay off your balance every month!
Furthermore, having a credit card is actually a reward in itself, as you'll be able to build a viable credit history which can help you out when applying for loans, rental applications or even jobs. So it's no wonder that most of Britain is turning to them as a replacement for cash.
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