Cash remains king in UK shops, says BRC

Coins Cash was the most popular way to pay in 2012, and the cheapest for shopkeepers

Cash is still the most popular form of payment in UK shops but the popularity of vouchers and coupons is on the rise, research has suggested.

The British Retail Consortium (BRC) analysed 10 billion retail payments in 2012 - 60% of all UK retail sales.

Cash accounted for about 54% of all transactions, but non-cash, non-card payments rose from less than 2% to 5% of the total.

Debit cards also remained popular, the figures showed.

'Ones to watch'

Use of cash in terms of the number of transactions and money spent in shops was down on the previous year. This was the first time in the survey's 13-year history that both measures recorded a fall.

Alternative means of payment, such as online payments and money-off coupons, grew, although these remained a fraction of the total.

"These methods will be the 'ones to watch' in the future, and retailers are investing heavily to make sure their customers have choice and convenience in ways to pay, whether in-store, at home or on the move," said Helen Dickinson, director general of the BRC.

Debit cards accounted for 30% of transactions, while credit cards or charge cards were used in nearly 11% of cases.

The BRC repeated its concern that credit card transactions cost retailers significantly more to process than cash.


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  • rate this

    Comment number 155.

    Credit cards for me, as often as possible, for the rewards. I usually manage a 10 day canal boat holiday every couple of years and two long haul BA business class tickets for less than two standard class, once a year. You have to 'play by the rules' but it's worth it. I pay my balances off in full every month, which psychologically 'feels’ like using cash, or at least a debit card.

  • rate this

    Comment number 46.

    Surprising findings from the BRC

    Personally I very rarely carry / use cash & rely on a debit card.

    The only time I tend to use cash is for low value items where the shop has a minimum spend e.g. my local paper shop has a minimum spend of £7 on debit cards

    Can't remember the last time I saw anyone paying for their "big shop" with cash at my local supermarket

  • rate this

    Comment number 40.

    Silly. The proportion of cash payments will vary with transaction value. If you eliminated payments of under (say) £10 a totally different picture would emerge. And in any case, value is much more important than volume. I wonder what % of sales value is from cards?

    These people need to measure the right things if they want to understand their business.

  • rate this

    Comment number 38.

    People are confusing debit cards and credit cards. You can't spend what you don't have on a debit card. Using cash doesn't make you a better with money, it's the same thing!

    Credit cards aren't bad if you pay off your balance each month either. When I turned 18 I got my first CC and used it to pay for everything. I had an excellent credit rating by the time I was about 20 to use as a safety net.

  • rate this

    Comment number 37.

    I have stopped using my cards in the shops, since they introduced contactless technology on my card without my say so. It has been quite liberating using cash again and I definitely spend less. I feel more in control of my own money.


Comments 5 of 7


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