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Debit cards overtake cash to become number one payment method in UK

A new survey by the British Retail Consortium has found that cards now account for more than half of all retail transactions by volume.

GENERAL MERCHANDISE

Debit cards overtake cash to become number one payment method in UK

A new survey by the British Retail Consortium has found that cards now account for more than half of all retail transactions by volume.

In its annual Payments Survey, the organisation said the increase had been partly driven by more UK customers using debit cards for lower value payments.

The survey has also revealed that new regulations have helped deliver savings for retailers. Investment in payments has been boosted by savings of around £500 million for retailers and their customers from the EU Interchange Fee Regulation, which was introduced following a campaign by the BRC and caps some of the fees for handling credit and debit card transactions.

Despite these savings from the IFR, the BRC said retailers still spent over £1 billion last year to accept payments from customers and argues that the cost of processing cards remains high, particularly for credit cards.

The survey also found that retail spending on credit cards has fallen and represents a diminished share of retail purchases by value.

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

"In part, this has been facilitated by the Interchange Fee Regulation (IFR), which was introduced across the European Union following a successful campaign by the BRC and has led to a significant fall in the cost of collection that benefits retailers and their customers.

“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.”

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