Card payments make up 90% of retail transactions

Card payments now account for 90 per cent of retail transactions in the UK, according to a survey by the British Retail Consortium (BRC).

The research showed that debit cards are the preferred method of payment in the UK, accounting for around 67 per cent of all retail transactions. The number of debit card payments has increased by 18 per cent since 2020, representing a total value of £282 billion.

Credit card usage also increased from 13.54 per cent in 2020 to 14.91 per cent in 2021, the survey found.

The rise in card payments coincides with the changing behaviour of consumers, largely driven by lockdowns during the pandemic and the shift to online shopping. Cash usage fell to 15 per cent of transactions in 2021, down from 30 per cent in 2020.

But the news follows research from Accenture which found that almost two-thirds of Brits use cash for payments at least five times a month.

In October, the Post Office revealed that cash withdrawals totalled £777 million - up 12 per cent year on year.

In 2021, almost half of non-food items were purchased online. This fell to 40 per cent in the first 11 months of 2022, as more people returned to the High Street when the pandemic eased.

The report also revealed that retailers spent £762 million processing debit card payments last year, which accounted for almost 60 per cent of total payment related costs they incurred.

Commenting on the news Hannah Regan, payments policy advisor at the BRCsaid: “With the public in and out of lockdown and cash usage discouraged last year, over 90 per cent of retail spending used debit or credit card.

She added: “With card usage soaring, already hard-pressed retailers had to pay huge sums to accept these payments. We need urgent intervention from the Payments Systems Regulator and the Treasury to stop card schemes from abusing their dominant market position.”

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