Debit cards overtake cash as top payment method

For the first time, debit card purchases have overtaken cash as the top payment method with over half of retail purchases made by credit or debit cards, according to the British Retail Consortium’s annual payment survey

Debit card transactions have grown by 4.5% to almost 43% of all retail transactions, overtaking cash which saw a 5% decrease to 42%.

The falling average transaction values of both debit and credit cards show that people are now choosing to use card over cash for lower value payments, this is due to the increasing use of contactless payments and the growing number of retailers that have invested in payment technology to accept contactless payments.

In 2016, cash was used to pay for £81.5bn worth of goods compared to £261.6bn paid for using cards, accounting for 75% of sales.

The average transaction value of a cash purchase increased from £9.21 in 2015 to £9.87 in 2016. The average transaction value for cards has decreased from £30.53 in 2013 to £25.40 in 2016 reflecting the displacement of cash for lower value transactions.

According to the UK Cards Association, a third of all card transactions are now contactless, with 68% of tills able to accept contactless, up from 47% last year.

British Retail Consortium’s payment survey 2016 is available here

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