Cash Loses Ground to Online Alternative Payments in U.K.

May 31, 2013

U.K. consumers are using cash less, partly due to the increasing prominence of alternative online payments, according to a new report issued yesterday. The British Retail Consortium’s annual Cost of Payment Collection Survey showed that while more than half of all transactions in the U.K. are made using cash, its use was down in 2012 both as a share of transactions (down 6.7 percent) and of total value (down 9.7 percent). It is the first time in the 13 years the BRC has been administering the survey that both measures decreased.

The use of alternative payment methods more than doubled from 2011, driven, the organization said, by manufacturers’ money-off coupons and the rapid growth of PayPal and other online payments. They now account for 5 percent of all transactions.

“Cash is still the most popular way to pay, but our survey shows how rapidly alternative and emerging methods are gaining ground, with growth more than doubling on the previous year, albeit from a low base,” said Helen Dickinson, director general of the BRC. “These methods will be the ‘ones to watch’ in the future, and retailers are investing heavily to make sure their customers have choice and convenience in ways to pay, whether in-store, at home or on the move.”