YORK is one of the fastest-growing cashless cities in the UK, new research shows.

Research from the mobile payments company, Sumup, shows that small and medium-sized businesses in York have recorded a 166 per cent increase in cashless transactions this year - the second-largest city rise.

Owner of The Mixing Bowl company, Rachel Pickard, 30 said the pandemic meant 80 per cent of her transactions were now through online purchases.

The mum-of-two set up the company, which creates gluten-free cakes for those suffering from coeliac disease just before the first lockdown.

She said: “ Before the pandemic, I didn’t even have a website.

“I was a relatively new company that had just established myself at the market in York and Malton.

“But the first lockdown completely changed that. I had to close urgently but I still had outgoings and so I needed to make the business profitable again.

“I quickly created a website and the move online has helped me to maintain an income while the markets have been closed.

“80 per cent of my sales are now done online - through pay pal mostly.

"I’ve also had to adapt to how I sell my products. I now offer more of a bulk option, whereas before I was selling individual items on the market.

“I can’t see the trend reversing. The pandemic will last into next year and this will be the new trend for small businesses in York.”

A spokesman for That Fudge Guy company in York said the pandemic had led to his company being all but online over the Christmas period.

Or Perlman, UK Country Lead for SumUp said: “This year, more than ever, small businesses in York are deciding to offer cashless payments not just for convenience.

“But because it is the only way for businesses to operate in the current pandemic.

“From takeaway pints, barbers with visors, to contactless payments – small businesses across York and the UK have taken little steps to do a lot, in terms of keeping their livelihood going and protecting the public at the same time. It’s fantastic to see the people of York rewarding those businesses.”