Payments in the UK are changing. The BRC (British Retail Consortium) has just published its annual survey into payments across the UK. The survey covered the £191 billion spent in UK retail sales last year. The results show clearly that the UK's digital economy continues to grow and is fast overtaking cash-in-hand transactions. Because although cash still accounts for 53 per cent of retail shopping transactions - that percentage is cut in half when considering the value of the transactions. In fact for every £100 spent on retail, only £27.64 is paid with cash.
The survey highlights the natural trend for people to make smaller purchases with cash and larger ones on credit and debit cards. Digital and card payments are starting to become the standard rather than the exception and certainly dominate when larger purchases are being completed.
"for every £100 spent on retail, only £27.64 is paid with cash"
And although cash still dominates smaller purchases, the average value of a cash transaction is now down to £9.47. That puts cash buying into a territory where alternative mobile and friction-free payments methods are starting to make an impact.
Of course, this all shows that consumers will use whatever payment method is most convenient. Making large purchases is inconvenient with cash for obvious reasons, not many people like carrying around so much cash. But contact-less payment methods using cards and mobiles are starting to make it quicker and more convenient to complete smaller transactions digitally rather than with cash as well. Indeed, the retail payment network Paypoint, believes that by 2019, some one-third of payments will be made via mobile payments, vouchers and coupons. We're inclined to agree.
"by 2019, some one-third of payments will be made
via mobile payments, vouchers and coupons."
Convenience and the customer experience is key and we think our Onescan mobile payment applications tick all those boxes. Onescan is a fast, secure and simple alternative. One simple scan and your payments is complete, no fiddling around for cash, no pin number to remember and you probably had your mobile in your hand already.
What this all means is that, even for the smaller retailer, moving to cash-less payments is becoming a priority. What’s more, doing that without the need to invest heavily in new hardware will also be important. With that in mind, we believe that Onescan's ability to interact with any digital screen could be a big factor in helping retailers to lower the cost of change.
What is certain is that while, in business, most commentators still believe that "cash is king"; in retail, its digital counterpart is eyeing up the throne.
By Matthew Taylor 4th June 2014
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