Use of contactless payment has overtaken cheques in the UK for the first time, according to new research from Mintel.

Cheques were used by less than one-third (31%) of Britons in the three months to April 2016, while contactless debit card was used by 39% and contactless credit card by 34%.

In contrast, in the same period last year 40% used cheques to make a payment, while just 28% used a contactless debit card.

Mintel also revealed that mobile payments had been used by 34% of smartphone users in the 12 months to April 2016, with 17% using them to pay in a shop or restaurant.

However, the research showed that 54% of Britons are not comfortable about the potential for a completely cashless society, rising to 61% for those over the age of 45.

Rich Shepherd, financial services analyst at Mintel, said: “Part of the reason for the rapid increase in the use of contactless cards is the simple fact that they are now much more widely accepted. They’ve moved beyond coffee shops and sandwich bars and are now entirely commonplace.

“However, the real shift in behaviour has only come over the last few years. It’s easy to forget that contactless cards were first launched back in 2007, meaning that the technology has been on British high streets for almost a decade. People’s payment habits change slowly, as can be seen with the cheque’s stubborn refusal to disappear from the payments landscape.”