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More than 75% of UK retail transactions now involve cards

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More than 75% of UK retail transactions now involve cards as shoppers move away from cash for lower-value purchases, according to the latest analysis from the British Retail Consortium (BRC). 

Just 22% of transactions now involve cash, says the BRC in its 2018 Payments Survey. The change in spending methods came at a cost to the industry of around £1bn a year, says the BRC, as card scheme costs rose by an average of 39% in 2017. Retailers spent an extra £170m on processing card payments over the year largely, says the BRC, thanks to card scheme fees that rose between 30% and 100% for some transactions. 

The BRC Payments Survey questioned 48% of the retail industry and looked at the payment methods that UK shoppers use when they buy goods in store and online, how this has changed since last year and how much it costs retailers on average to handle each method of payment. 

BRC head of payments and consumer credit Andrew Cregan said: “EU payment regulation introduced in 2015 delivered savings for the retail industry and consumers, but these benefits have now been eroded by increases in other card fees. In fact, many smaller retailers have questioned whether savings were ever passed on by card companies. The BRC is now looking to the Government and regulator to tackle the alarming increases to card scheme fees imposed by retailers and for action to simplify the complex fees and charges levied by the card payments industry.”

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