All shops on one high street are now only accepting cards to test whether Britain could become a cash-free country.
Cash use has fallen by 14% since 2009, according to one retail group
Shoppers will find their cash is worthless in one Manchester suburb as only cards will be accepted by stores on the high street.
As part of a social experiment, shops along fashionable Beech Road in Chorlton will only take payments on plastic.
It comes as research shows people are increasingly using cards instead of notes and coins.
Many of the shops, bars and restaurants on the road are independently owned.
Mary Paul, of the Beech Road traders’ association, said: “Businesses can see the way things are going with more money being taken on cards across the board, so this is a very interesting glimpse into the future for all of us.”
This month the British Retail Consortium (BRC) revealed cash use has fallen by 14% in the last five years.
Card use is increasing rapidly, with debit cards currently being used for 32% of transactions compared to 30% last year.
Some experts predict physical currency will cease to exist within 20 years.
Helen Dickinson, director general of the BRC, said: “Customers are taking advantage of new ways to shop and pay. The availability of contactless cards, handy express stores and self-service tills, as well as online sales, has increased the use of debit cards for smaller payments in place of cash.”
Mark Latham, product and innovation director at Handepay, the card payment provider behind the idea to trial a cashless high street, added: “Britain is at the forefront of countries heading towards becoming cashless because the public are always eager to embrace new technology.
“Recent research showed most Londoners would welcome a cash-free society as they’re so used to paying for everything with cards.
“There’s now an expectation that card payment is available everywhere – it takes us aback as consumers if it isn’t.
“Business owners love it too as it cuts down on queues, reduces lost sales and gives them more time to interact with their customers.
“All evidence shows consumers spend more too, as they’re no longer limited to just the cash in their pockets.”
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