British Merchants Moving Toward Alternative Payments

July 30, 2012

In its annual Cost of Collection Survey , the British Retail Consortium (BRC) reported that U.K. consumers used alternative payment methods for e-commerce transactions 150 million times in 2011 totaling £1.2 billion ($1.9 billion). About one-third of British merchants accepted an alternative payment method last year—principally PayPal, Google Checkout or Amazon Payments—and more than half said they will be ready to do so by the end of 2012. The survey also found the cost to retailers to process alternative payments averaged 7.9 pence (13 cents) per transaction compared to 36.2 pence (57 cents) for credit cards and 9.6 pence (16 cents) for debit cards on an average transaction value of £7.89 ($12.41).

“The message is: Customers are choosing to use a payment method that doesn’t always involve the banks and is the cheapest non-cash way for retailers to take money,” says Stephen Robertson, director general of the BRC. “With the market moving away from them, the banks should be making their transaction charging regimes clearer and, above all, cheaper for retailers.”