Card and contactless payments have overtaken the use of cash for the first time, according to the Payments Council. The use of cash by consumers, businesses and organisations fell to 48% in 2014, down from 52% the previous year, with the rest made up of automated and card payments, as people use debit and credit cards, contactless and mobile payments to carry out financial transactions. Overall, 24% of total payments were made by debit card, followed by direct debits (10%), while somewhat surprisingly, cheques still account for 2% of transactions too. Cash still kingHowever, the figures found that cash still remains king when it comes to consumer spending, with notes and coins accounting for 52% of all transactions in 2014. The vast majority (91%) of us still use a cash machine at least once a month, and while the Payments Council predicts that the amount of consumer transactions with cash is likely to drop below 50% in 2016, it doesn't expect cash to disappear completely anytime soon. David Hensley, director of cash services, said: “Cash remains a vital part of our day-to-day lives and is still the most attractive or only option in lots of situations. We continue to value notes and coins so highly for their familiarity and widespread acceptance.” In total, businesses, consumers and financial organisations made 18.3 billion cash payments during the year, compared to 19.8 billion non-cash payments.