Card payments continue to rise

By Melodie Michel contact

- Last updated on GMT

The UK is approaching a tipping point where cards will overtake cash as the preferred method of payment
The UK is approaching a tipping point where cards will overtake cash as the preferred method of payment

Related tags: Cent, Credit card

Credit and debit card transactions rose by over 6 per cent in 2014, leaving hospitality operators that do not offer cashless payments ‘behind the curve’, according to payment processor Worldpay.

London has seen the biggest year-on-year rise in card payments on the high street at 9.3 per cent. This is followed by Leeds (8.9 per cent), Reading (8 per cent), Southampton (7.9 per cent) and Liverpool (7.7 per cent).

Though the firm’s latest data was not broken down by sector, previous research revealed that the availability of card payment was a decisive factor​ when choosing a place to eat.

Pubs and bars

Contactless payments are also increasingly popular in pubs and bars. In fact, Worldpay processed 100 million contactless payments in the UK by September 2014, and 48 per cent of these transactions were in pubs and restaurants.

“With pubs under increasing pressure to innovate and adapt to changing customer preferences, technology can reduce the complexity of managing the transition, while enhancing the opportunities to increase revenues and overall customer service. Bar owners and landlords that aren’t already considering their strategy today are behind the curve,” Worldpay chief marketing officer James Frost told BigHospitality.

According to Worldpay, the migration of low-value cash payments to card, along with the growing use of contactless are pushing the UK closer to the point where cards will overtake cash as the dominant payment method on the high street.

This claim is backed by recent data from the British Retail Consortium, which suggested that cash use went down by 14 per cent over the past five years.

Lower transaction amounts

Worldpay’s own data also shows a decline in average transaction values for credit and debit cards, from £31.51 in 2012, to £29.67 in 2014, an overall drop of 6 per cent.

In the contactless sector, where the number of transactions processed has grown by 150 per cent in just the past six months, transaction values stabilised at around £7.24, as people have become used to paying for coffee, lunch or last-minute groceries with their contactless card.

The research also highlighted important differences between age groups: Worldpay’s survey of 2,000 consumers found the majority of Brits over 45 years old still like to have cash on them, but nearly 60 per cent of 25-to-34-year-olds would prefer to never carry cash.

Dave Hobday, managing director of Worldpay UK, said: “Shoppers don’t want to worry about having enough cash in their wallets.  Whether they’re spending a leisurely day out hitting every shop on the high street or popping into a cafe for a quick latte, they just want payments to be fast, simple and convenient.  

“This is where card payments have the edge over cash, time and time again.  It might not quite be curtains for cash just yet, but notes and coins are starting look like they belong to a different time.”

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