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At 30, is the £1 coin having a midlife crisis?

18 April 2013

Over half of Brits now prefer to use plastic for the majority of their purchases.

As the pound coin celebrates its thirtieth anniversary on 21 April1, new research2 reveals that while cash remains king for small ticket items such as newspapers and magazines, over half of Brits (53%) prefer to use plastic for most of their purchases.
The survey commissioned by Gocompare.com found that 34% of people try to pay with cash whenever possible and 48% said that they didn't like being without any cash, with this figure rising to 57% for people aged 55 and over.    
As a result, cash is the main method of payment for purchases under a fiver, with 92% of those surveyed saying that they would use cash.
However, for items costing between £5 and £20, just over half (52%) said that they would pay by cash while a third would use their debit card, and 13% would pay by credit card.  With two in five people saying they don't like to carry a lot of cash around, plastic dominates purchases over £20:

Value of goods

Payment method (%)

£20.01 to £30

debit card (51), cash (28), credit card (20)

£30.01 to £50

debit card (54), credit card (23), cash (21)

£50.01 to £100

debit card (54), credit card (30), cash (13)

The survey found that cash was the preferred method of payment for newspapers (84%), magazines (80%), a round of drinks (78%), a takeout (71%) and when paying tradesmen (56%).
John Miles from Gocompare.com, commented: "Over the thirty years since the pound coin came into circulation, the way we pay for goods and services has changed dramatically with the development of debit cards, chip and pin, electronic and other contactless payment systems.  Despite this, our practical as well as emotional attachment to cash remains strong, particularly for older people, so it looks like the pound coin is going to be around for a good while yet."      

Notes to editors:

1 -The pound coin was introduced on 21 April 1983.

2 - On the 4th to 6th March, 2013, Vision Critical  conducted an online survey among 2,019 randomly selected British adults who are Springboard UK panellists. The margin of error-which measures sampling variability-is +/- 2.2%. The results have been statistically weighted according to the most current education, age, gender and regional data to ensure samples representative of the entire adult population of United Kingdom. Discrepancies in or between totals are due to rounding.