Money Wellness
Illustrated image of a phone paying another phone. Digital payments. Protect your digital payments from fraud
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calendar icon10 May 2024

Almost Half of Britons Rely on Phones for Payments

Britain is becoming a cashless society, with nearly half of Brits leaving home with only their phones as a means of payment. According to research by, an estimated 25 million UK residents aged 16 and over - 45% - do not take their wallets when going out, instead relying solely on their digital wallets as a payment method.

Younger generations are leading this trend, with 66% of Millennials and 72% of Gen Z admitting to going out with just their phones. In contrast, only 23% of Baby Boomers and 11% of the Silent Generation feel comfortable leaving the house with only a phone for payments, even for a short period.

Overall, a quarter of Brits occasionally leave the house without a payment card, while one in five (20%) do so frequently or always. This is because they know they can pay using a digital wallet on their phone, such as Apple Pay or Google Pay.

The use of digital wallets for online transactions has grown in the UK, making up 35% of all digital transactions in 2022, up from 29% in 2019. Approximately £259 billion worth of digital transactions were made in the UK last year, with over a third (35%) completed using digital wallets.

While digital wallet usage for in-store payments is lower than online, it has become increasingly popular. Apple Pay is the most popular mobile payment service in the UK, used by nearly 70% of those making in-person payments with their phones. In contrast, PayPal was used by only 31% of mobile payment users, and Google Pay by just 27%.

Are Mobile Payments Safe?

Mobile payment apps are generally a convenient and secure way to pay, but they do come with some risks.

The biggest danger is the risk of losing your phone, which could allow criminals to rack up charges or access your sensitive information.

Smartphones can also be infected with malware, such as keyloggers that record your every tap, or fake apps that attack your payment apps.

Protecting Your Mobile Payments

  • Secure your smartphone or tablet with a screen lock
  • Turn on two-factor authentication (2FA) for your important accounts
  • Always install the latest software and app updates
  • Use a password manager to avoid reusing passwords
  • Learn how to locate and lock a lost or stolen phone online
Avatar of Caroline Chell

Caroline Chell

Caroline has worked in financial communications for more than 10 years, writing content on subjects such as pensions, mortgages, loans and credit cards, as well as stockbroking and investment advice.

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