Card acceptance ‘key for UK shoppers’

Almost half of all UK consumers would go elsewhere if a retailer only offered cash as a payment option.

The study, from business technology provider First Data, revealed that UK businesses risk losing one in every two customers by not accepting non-cash payments.

In a survey of 1,000 UK consumers conducted by OnePoll, card payments emerged as the preferred method of payment for 59 per cent of respondents. Rather than seek an ATM, 43 per cent said that they would either not make the purchase, or go elsewhere if they found themselves without cash, and no other payment option was offered.

Although larger retailers usually offer a range of payment methods, it’s still the case that many independent stores are failing to offer this. Almost two thirds of consumers said the SMEs they visit do not accept cards. The food and drink sector is identified as the worst offender – including restaurants, bars, cafes and pubs.

Speed and security are top considerations for consumer payment preferences. The vast majority (98 per cent) of people who prefer contactless cards do so because it’s faster, followed by those that cite the convenience and security of not having to remember and type a PIN. Nearly half (48 per cent) said that they look for an efficient shopping experience “with little interaction with store advisors”.

Top frustrations associated with cash include the need to traipse to an ATM (50 per cent), the fact that it can be easily stolen or lost (35 per cent), that it’s harder to keep track of spending (27 per cent).

Raj Sond, general manager at First Data, said: “Time pushed, busy consumers are looking for a fast, hassle-free shopping experience. Convenience is paramount, and a smooth payment mechanism is vital in being able to offer a tailored, seamless service.

“With multiple shopping options on the High Street and online it’s all too easy for potential customers to take their business elsewhere. Successful companies would be wise not to make assumptions about what their customers want.”

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