The British Retail Consortium’s annual payments survey is out, and it reveals the impact of retailer commitment to making it easier for shoppers to pay and shop.
The new data shows that…

• Debit card use has increased by 11% and the frequency of cash payments is less than ever before with a 14% fall in cash use in the last five years

• While cash was used for 53% of the number of transactions in 2013, debit cards accounted for 32% (30% last year)

• In terms of the value of transactions, debit cards accounted for 50% of transactions, and the average value of purchases made with debit cards has fallen.

There’s no getting away from the fact that the majority of payments continue to be made in cash, but this is in slow decline as shoppers embrace the new systems available that make their shopping experience more convenient and efficient.

Retailers cottoned on to this desire some time ago and using the latest technology have adopted a myriad of ways that consumers can purchase goods so they have a choice and find it easier to pay.

With contactless payments and self serve checkouts shoppers have more power in terms of how they shop and the rush of panic at the till when you realise that you’ve forgotten to take cash out is becoming a thing of the past.

Smaller payments, which would have frequently been paid for in cash, are increasingly being made by card, boosting the already high numbers of online card transactions.

Other alternative ways to pay, and where we have also seen a positive shift in behaviour, are mobile payment systems such as Paypal and near field communication systems such as Google Wallet.

The survey also showed that when it came to creditcard use last year, the share in transaction volumes fell by 13% to 9%. The reduced frequency, but higher spend on creditcards is a reflection of the times and appreciation of economic growth as shoppers continue to act with caution, yet are starting to be more confident in their purchasing behaviour.

Shoppers look for speed, simplicity and convenience and these new figures show that common barriers such as fear of security breach, are perhaps becoming less of a concern as people become more accustomed and at ease with digital shopping.

Cash is an inconvenience for retailers and shoppers alike. As a consumer you frequently have to reply on cash points for withdrawals, and retailers have to facilitate handling too with their bank. Card payments speed up and simplify the purchasing process for both parties, driving shorter queues.

We may be some way off shoppers totally turning their backs on cash in favour of mobile and card payments, but the benefits alternative payment methods bring are sure to continue to fuel the trend.