Small change donations in decline because one in 10 young adults never carry cash, survey suggests

The Pennies Foundation, which runs the micro-donation scheme Pennies, finds an increasing number of people are living a cashless existence

Pennies chip and pin scheme
Pennies chip and pin scheme

Traditional ways of donating small change are under threat as one in 10 young adults never carry cash, research by the Pennies Foundation suggests.

The foundation, which runs the micro-donation scheme Pennies, commissioned a survey of 1,700 UK adults in October to establish which forms of payment they now use and their giving habits. One in 10 respondents aged between 25 and 34 said they never carry cash and rely entirely on cards, while one in three regularly leaves the house without cash. Five per cent said they live a completely cashless existence.

The report also found that almost half of respondents – 47 per cent – would not bother to pick up a penny in the street. A quarter said they would not stop for anything less that 20p, and 8 per cent said they would never pick up any coins in the street. 

But the people surveyed still had an appetite for traditional ways of giving: 62 per cent said they would drop small change into a charity box while out shopping. But more than half – 52 per cent – said they had noticed a decline in such boxes. 

The Pennies scheme, dubbed the electronic charity box, allows people to donate using chip and pin cards in shops and restaurants.

Alison Hutchinson, chief executive of the foundation, said: "The growing number of people choosing to pay by card and not carry cash means the traditional way of donating small change to charity is under threat."

She added that Pennies provided shoppers with the chance to donate to charity spontaneously as the cashless trend continues.

Pennies is available at 10 national retailers, including Domino’s Pizza, Zizzi restaurants and Travelodge. Customers have raised more than £750,000 for charity since the scheme was launched in 2010. 

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