UK Card Payments Overtook Cash For the First Time Last Year

Payments made on cards in the UK outnumbered cash transactions for the first time according to the British Retail Consortium (BRC).

More than half of all payments in last year were made on a card which was driven in part by increased investment in card payment technology by retailers and more willingness from the public to use their cards for smaller transactions.

The introduction of lower handling and transaction fees, introduced under the EU Interchange Fee Regulation (IFR), helped save retailers and customers around £500 million, though over £1 billion was still spent to accept card payments.

A growing number of retailers have invested in payment technology to accept cards, contactless payments and new payment applications both online and in store,” said Andrew Cregan, a BRC policy advisor.

Looking ahead, the government should act to retain the benefits of the IFR for retailers and their customers after the UK leaves the EU and introduce further regulatory action to address the alarming increase in other card fees and charges at a time when the retail industry is facing acute cost pressures elsewhere,” he said.

The survey, based on a data from half the entire retail industry, also found consumers are becoming less reliant on credit cards for day-to-day transactions, preferring instead to use debit card, which now account for almost 43% of all retail transactions.