Cashless payment – card instead of cash: British retailers complain about costs


The British have stopped paying in cash during the pandemic. In 2021, only 15 percent of purchases were made with notes or coins, the British shopping association BRC announced on Friday. That is half less than in 2020 and almost 40 percent less than before the outbreak of the corona pandemic. While consumers are probably happy with the increased ease of use of cashless payments, retailers are complaining about the costs.

The government’s recommendation to make contactless purchases during the pandemic has accelerated the already existing cash transition. The rise of online shopping will do the rest, said the association, which represents major retailers, who accounted for nearly 40% of UK retail sales last year. Debit cards, which many banks provide free of charge with payment accounts, accounted for 67 percent of transactions last year. In 2020 that was still 54 percent. However, the share of credit cards only increased from 14 to 15 percent.

The trade association emphasized that the declining consumption of cash is making handling banknotes and coins increasingly expensive. He therefore called on the UK government to do more to ensure that cash remains profitable for buyers. In the spring, he had urged the banks to ensure that cash remained a means of payment that was accessible to as many people as possible. At the time, it was said that 5.4 million adults depended heavily on being able to pay in cash.

“We urgently need Treasury Department intervention to prevent card schemes from abusing their market dominance,” said BRC expert Hannah Regan. According to the association, accepting card payments cost member companies a total of £1.3 billion (around €1.5 billion) last year. Processing debit card transactions cost retailers an average of 0.273 percent of the payment value, up from 0.265 percent in 2020, according to BRC. Credit cards are even more expensive.

Source: Krone


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