Survey shows cash is king in retail

21 April, 2008

Cash is still the most popular form of payment among retail customers despite efforts by card companies to push plastic alternatives.

Figures released by the British Retail Consortium today show that cash is used in 60% of transactions, compared to 54% last year, even with the emergence of new Touch & Go style payment cards for small purchases.

BRC director general Stephen Robertson said: “Reports of the death of cash are premature. Cash is not only alive, it’s thriving. While total retail spending continues to grow, there is a widening gap between the amount spent in cash and the amount spent using cards, suggesting customers want to keep tight control of their finances.”

The BRC’s Cost of Collection survey of 17,000 shops also found that cash is the most cost effective way for retailers to accept payments. On average, retailers pay 2p to process a cash transaction compared to 8p for a debit card and 34p for a credit card.

Robertson said banks and credit card companies need to introduce lower processing costs as incentive for retailers to install new card payment systems.

“Banks should not be exploiting new payment systems as a way of taking extra money from shoppers. There should be a lower fixed fee per transaction which actually reflects the cost of processing, so new technology brings balanced benefits to retailers, consumers and banks,” he said.

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