Cash remains king in UK shops, says BRC

Image caption 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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