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Cash use in UK down by 14% over last 5 years, card charges increasing burden

The British Retail Consortium's (BRC) Payments Survey 2013 published today covers 60 per cent or £191 billion in retail sales in 2013. It shows that customers are using less cash than ever as retailers make it easier and more convenient to shop and pay. Measured as a percentage of sales turnover and sales transactions against the 2012 figures:

Source & Copyright©2014 - British Retail Consortium 

Key results:

  • Cash continues to decline in value, the number of transactions and in the average transaction value
  • Whilst cash remains an important method of payment, the survey has identified a further switch into the use of debit cards – they now account for 50% of sales turnover.
  • Credit and charge cards have retained their share of turnover but with fewer transactions. This means people are spending more but on fewer items – suggesting a more considered purchase, which reflects the wider consumer outlook of cautious growth.

BRC: Collection costs are still too high for card transactions

BRC’s overall conclusion, as last year, it that the cost for a retailer to process a debit and credit card payment is still excessively high and out of line with the costs that retailers incur for cash transactions. The BRC cost comparison analysis for the main payment methods, shows that:

  • Cash accounts for 52.57% of transactions - yet only account for 8.7% of costs (1.29p/transaction)
  • Debit cards account 32.37% of transactions - and account for 36.63% of costs (8.83p/transaction)
  • Credit and Charge cards account for only 9.28% of transactions - but account for a staggering 48.66% of costs (40.93/transaction).

The average cost to handle a transaction based as a % of total sales turnover for the payment method are:

Source & Copyright©2014 - British Retail Consortium 

For a copy of the British Retail Consortium’s ‘Retail Payments Survey 2013’, see.

CTMfile take: This BRC study contains a global warning for corporate treasurers and their associations: It is going to be essential to re-negotiate payment card charge rates sooner rather than later otherwise you will be saddled with unnecessary extra payment costs for ever.

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