News & Views - Savantor

So what is going on?

Sunday, 16 June 2013

In the last edition one article stated that debit card spend was on the increase to the detriment of cash with 4 in 10 consumers now preferring debit card to cash. This month has seen some confusing statistics which seem to muddy the waters. Firstly the BRC states that British consumers did nearly 10% less shopping with cash, in terms of monetary value, in 2012 than in the year earlier and that while cash was still the most popular method of payment for both online and high street customers in the UK, payment by debit cards and by newer methods such as PayPal has gained, as online shopping and the use of self-service check-outs accelerated.  The survey found that while more than half of transactions were still made in cash – 54.4%– its use has declined as a percentage both of number of transactions, which was down 6.7%, and total money spent, which was down 9.7%. 

So this seems to say that cash is still king but the crown is slipping.  These findings were however slightly at odds with research by the large supermarkets which have noticed an increase in cash payments, with for example some shoppers taking a set amount of cash out of ATMs to use to buy their weekly groceries.

But then the UK Payments Council tells us that cash use increased in the UK last year.  More people are turning to cash exclusively, possibly to help them monitor the amount they are spending on a day-to-day basis. In 2012 7.2 million adults made all of their day-to-day purchases by cash, an increase of around 700,000 compared with 2011.  The issue at the moment for consumers is clearly one of control over spending but as we eventually pull out of the current climate there has to be something in it for the consumer to make a significant switch to card/mobile. 

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