Almost 80% of retail sales are now made using card payments - do you still carry cash?

Credit card spending overtook cash payments in 2018
Credit card spending overtook cash payments in 2018
0
Have your say

Credit card spending overtook cash payments in 2018 in terms of the value of sales made, according to the British Retail Consortium (BRC).

The popularity of plastic pushed cash into third place, with debit cards remaining the most popular payment method, the BRC's payments survey said.

Last year, debit cards accounted for 56.8% of sales by value, while credit and charge cards accounted for 21.5% and cash made up 20.4% of the total.

It meant that plastic accounted for nearly 80% of retail sales by value last year.

Cash was used to pay for £77.7 billion worth of goods in 2018, compared with £80.6 billion in 2017 when it accounted for 22% of sales value and credit and charge cards made up 20.8%.

But in terms of the volume of payments made, cash remained the second most popular payment method, with coins and notes still commonly used for smaller transactions.

Last year, 9.3 billion transactions were made by debit card, 7.7 billion were in cash and 2.6 billion were made using credit and charge cards.

The average value of a cash payment last year was £10.21, slightly down on £10.78 in 2017.

The BRC said the average value of a payment made in cash had remained around £10 for several years.

The average transaction made by credit card had a higher value, at £31.71.

The BRC also said total UK retail sales increased by 4.1% to £381 billion in 2018, from £366 billion the previous year.

There were 20.1 billion transactions in a single year - or more than 55 million per day - up from 19.8 billion in 2017.

Card costs continued to rise, the BRC said, as retailers spent £1.3 billion with third parties just to accept payments from customers, up £70 million from 2017.

Each transaction costs retailers an average of 5.85p.

Cash remains the most cost-effective payment acceptance channel for retailers, with cards being more costly to process, the report said.

The BRC is calling for action to improve regulation of card payment fees.

It also said Brexit could see retailers paying "significantly more" to accept foreign-issued cards.

Andrew Cregan, BRC policy adviser, payments and consumer credit, said: "With card payments accounting for almost 80% of retail sales, it is vital that the Government takes action to tackle the soaring costs that card companies charge retailers.

"Without action, we will see businesses put under further pressure and it will be consumers who are forced to pay the price."

The BRC's survey was completed by retailers who represent over a third (34%) of UK retail annual sales turnover.