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Shoppers using less cash


A survey by the British Retail Consortium (BRC) has revealed that UK consumers are using alternative payment methods more regularly than ever, leading to cash usage for the past five years falling by 14%.

The main reason for the fall in the number of people using cash as a payment method is due to a growing host of alternative payment methods, such as online sales, contactless cards and debit cards.

The survey also revealed various other findings around consumer spending with different payment methods.

The main finding was that, whilst cash accounted for 53% of transactions, cards accounted for 50% of the value of all transactions, suggesting that people are more likely to make bigger purchases with cards.

However, despite this, it was also claimed that the value of purchases made with cards is now beginning to fall – meaning that alternative methods of payment are being adopted on a wider scale.

New ways to shop and pay

Helen Dickinson, general director of the BRC said the results of the survey show that “Customers are taking advantage of new ways to shop and pay.”

She also said that the availability of alternative payment methods at “handy express stores and self service tills” is a “milestone in the development of our digital economy”.

Increasing charges

The study did also claim that banks are taking advantage of this trend and levying “unjustifiably” high charges for using cards.

The BRC said that the average cost for a retailer processing a transaction where a credit card is used as the payment method has risen by 18% in the last five years, whilst debit card payment charges are up by 8.8p per transaction (4%).

Ms Dickinson said that increasing transaction charges from banks is “really disappointing”.

However, these costs were defended by the UK Cards Association, who argued that retailers need to contribute to the cost of processing payments.
They said that the charges help to protect retailers from fraud and if prices were to be decreased, they would “have to be funded in other ways”, such as passing the cost on to the consumer.

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