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Death of cash ‘exaggerated’, says BRC

Cash remains the preferred payment method in the majority of transactions, this year’s annual payments survey by the British Retail Consortium has found.

Despite a slight decline, cash continued to account for over 52% of all transactions last year. However, the average value of transactions across all payment methods has fallen again.

The report said: “Shoppers have become less reliant on large weekly shops and instead prefer to make more frequent visits to a wider variety of stores.

“This has increasingly become the norm for many customers and has been supported by continued innovation, including the growth in contactless payment cards being issued and used for lower value purchases.

“Retailers continue to respond to this changing behaviour by expanding their smaller-format stores bringing convenience to a greater number of customers.”

The survey reveals UK customers are increasingly embracing non-traditional methods, such as apps, to pay for their shopping, although this still only represents a small proportion of payments.

“These methods of payment will likely increase their prevalence over the coming years,” the report concluded.

It also argues that the cost to UK retailers of handling card payments is still too high. New EU laws will come into force later this year limiting charges for debit card transactions to 0.2% and credit cards to 0.3% of transaction value.

But BRC director general Helen Dickinson said: “There remains work to be done here in the UK to address these unfair charges.”


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