Credit card spending has overtaken cash for the first time, according to data from UK retailers. Notes and coins are now the third most popular method of payment.
Credit and charge cards accounted for £82bn of retail sales last year – overtaking cash (£78bn) for the first time, according to the British Retail Consortium (BRC).
In light of the results, Ian Bradbury, CTO for Financial Services at Fujitsu, told TFT:
“It’s no surprise that card payments are overtaking cash. We are now heading towards a cashless society, driven by both a rise in consumer demand for the ease and convenience of contactless payments, as well as a rise in the supply of innovative digital payment services from providers.
But when we talk about contactless, we think about people going into stores to buy goods, or tapping onto a train or bus. Recently however, the growing popularity of technology and card payments has provided a platform for some creative thinking around how and where else it could be applied – for example contactless payments are now being accepted in churches. Previously, Fujitsu experts engaged with Macmillan Cancer Support to discuss how contactless payments could be used in a creative way to drive donations to the charity. These examples show how deeply ingrained in our lives contactless payments are becoming.
“It’s about ensuring technology underpins the services provided to both these types of customers, so that they can deal with their finances with ease and convenience”
But as cash use in the UK is reducing, this opens up the opportunity for some organisations to actually grow their services around cash. As the number of bank branches reduces, other businesses, such as the Post Office are beginning to fill this role, which is especially important for the 2.2 million people in the UK who are still reliant on cash, as well as small businesses that operate largely using cash.
Ultimately, businesses and banks must understand that different customers want different things; some will expect to have access to cutting-edge digital services, while others will want to rely on traditional branch banking and cash. It’s about ensuring technology underpins the services provided to both these types of customers, so that they can deal with their finances with ease and convenience.”