David Cameron vetoed proposals to scrap copper coins amid fears the move would "scare" the public, according to a former adviser.
The former prime minister is thought have seen the move as too damaging symbolically for the Tory party, according to the Guardian.
The proposal, drawn up by former Downing Street policy adviser Daniel Korski ahead of the 2015 Tory party conference, was part of plans to gradually phase out cash by 2020.
Chancellor George Osborne believed it would be a “modernising change”, but Cameron ruled that it was too risky for the Tory brand.
“The proposal we developed was to move towards a totally cashless society,” Korski said.
“I said: ‘Let us force that pace.’ If government shows a willingness, says why it matters, then it could make Britain the centre for innovation for money in the future.
“It was in the package for discussion until it got taken out by George Osborne. They said: ‘Look, it is an interesting idea but it will scare people.’”
Korski argued that a “hell of a lot of cash was in circulation fuelling the criminal economy”, and suggested the UK should chase Norway and Denmark and to some extent China, who had already started to move away from cash.