A new survey by ING reveals that more than a third of European and American consumers would be happy to go cashless and use electronic forms of payment. Saskia O'Donoghue reports
Paying with cash could be a thing of the past. A study showed Wednesday that more than a third of Europeans and Americans would be happy to go without cash and rely on electronic forms of payment if they could. And at least 20 percent already do. The survey, by ING bank website eZonomics, was conducted across Europe, the US and Australia. A significant 34 percent of respondents in Europe and 38 percent in the US said they'd be willing to go cash-free permanently. (SOUNDBITE) (English) ING SENIOR ECONOMIST, IAN BRIGHT, SAYING: "There tended to be more of a bent towards accepting cashless transactions among the countries of lower income levels - Romania, Turkey, for example, to a degree Poland, for example." And cash is already getting less popular. More than half of the European respondents said they had used less cash in the past 12 months than previously. And 78 percent said they expected to use it even less over the coming 12 months. Payment systems such as contactless cards and phone-based digital wallets have become so prevalent the issue has even become political in some countries. Cash fans Germany are concerned by the European Central Bank decision to phase out the 500 euro note next year... saying it's the start of a slippery slope. The central European country is still likes hard cash - with only 10% telling the survey they rarely use paper money. But, the survey also showed that in most countries where cash is still widely used, residents were most likely to want to go cashless... (SOUNDBITE) (English) ING SENIOR ECONOMIST, IAN BRIGHT, SAYING: "In my own thoughts, we'll never go completely cashless but more and more people will end up in a situation where they can quite comfortably get by for two days, three days, four days, and even a week, without ever using cash." While there's no evidence that governments are planning to scrap cash as yet - some consumers think it's makes perfect sense. Cashless society getting closer, the survey finds.