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Cards account for half of retail purchases

More than half (54%) of retail purchases in the UK were made using cards for the first time last year, as shoppers increasingly favour cards for smaller payments.

Debit and credit cards were used for 10.3 billion transactions in 2016, according to the British Retail Consortium’s (BRC) latest annual Payments Survey. Debit card purchases have overtaken cash for the first time and average card transaction values have fallen from £26.14 in 2015 to £23.38 in 2016. Retailers’ investment in payment technology has also given customers more choice about how they pay online and instore, according to the BRC.

Andrew Cregan, BRC policy advisor for payments, said: “A growing number of retailers have invested in payment technology to accept cards, contactless payments and new payment applications both online and in store. In part, this has been facilitated by the Interchange Fee Regulation (IFR), which was introduced across the European Union following a successful campaign by the BRC and has led to a significant fall in the cost of collection that benefits retailers and their customers.

“Looking ahead, the government should act to retain the benefits of the IFR for retailers and their customers after the UK leaves the EU and introduce further regulatory action to address the alarming increase in other card fees and charges at a time when the retail industry is facing acute cost pressures elsewhere.”


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