“I DON’T expect you see this very often,” I said to a bus driver last week, as I handed over my fare.

I had scrabbled together my £2.50 from loose change, presenting a fistful of coins of almost every denomination. The driver looked at them as though I’d given him a handful of cat biscuits. “You’re only the third person to pay cash today,” he told me. It was 5pm.

Fewer and fewer people are using cash. High street stores say that for till payments, cash has fallen behind debit and credit cards, making it only the third most popular way to pay.

One in ten adults in the UK are now choosing to live a largely cashless life, data from the banking body UK Finance reveals, as contactless and mobile payments surge in popularity. Among those aged 25 to 34, the figure rises to more than one in six (17 per cent).

It looks more and more like we are moving to a cashless society.

It will be a sad day when that happens. For a start, what will children do? Growing up, my friends and I would pile into the sweet shop after school, our mouths watering as we sized up jars of rainbow crystals, lemon sherberts and bonbons, as well as the vast array of penny chews. We would hand over coins in exchange for a paper bag full of tooth-rotting goodness.

I still see schoolkids in my local shop buying sweets. In a cashless world will they need to borrow their dad’s Am Ex card to buy a Marathon bar or a stick of liquorice?

Will a no-cash Britain bring to an end those wonderful traditions - summer fayres (always spelt with a ‘y’), fetes and carnivals, with their cake stalls, tombolas and ducking stools?

And what are aunts and uncles going to put inside birthday cards?

Then there’s the arcades. I like nothing better than to visit Scarborough and try my luck on the penny falls (although it’s 2p nowadays) and horse racing games. All that fun would be consigned to history if cash was scrapped.

I must admit, I don’t use cash as much as I do my card, but I still use it regularly, and try to keep at a few pounds’ worth in my purse for bits and pieces.

You know where you are with cash. You can get carried away with yourself using a bit of plastic. Budgeting goes out of the window.

I like coins. They are part of our history. We get excited when metal detectors dig up ancient currency. I can’t see anyone in the distant future throwing a party after unearthing a credit card. Plastic is the one thing we are trying to get rid of.

But things are not looking good. In Sweden, people have all but stopped using cash. In 2018, only 13 percent of Swedes reported using it for a recent purchase, down from around 40 percent in 2010. In the capital, Stockholm, most people can’t even remember the last time they had coins jingling in their pockets.

The Reserve Bank of Australia predicts that the country will be cashless in less than a decade.

Here in the UK more than 250 free-to-use cash machines close every month as operators shut unprofitable ones, the co-ordinator Link has said.

My daughters rarely use cash, even to buy cups of coffee. They don’t even use their debit cards much, paying for most things on their phones. I’m still getting to grips with my phone for texting, so paying bills with it isn’t going to happen any time soon.

I suppose I could be worse off. I could be one of the 1.2 million people in the UK who, for various reasons, don’t have a bank account. What will happen to them?