A lot of things are changing in the world of payments. Across the United Kingdom, card payments are still dominating the charts. For the first time in years, the usage of cash has decreased significantly. Another sign of why the UK needs to go cashless sooner rather than later. Even so, weeding out cash usage altogether will be a steep hill to climb.

The new payment report for the United Kingdom highlights interesting statistics. Findings by BRC show card payments account for 76% of retail sales volume. That in itself is rather interesting, as this level has not been established before. Cash usage, on the other hand, makes up just 22%. It is a rather strong decline for cash, albeit no one is really surprised by this development.

Payment Cards Dominate in the UK

According to BRC officials, the increase in card payments forces retailers to improve spending. Accepting card payments is a very costly venture, which often makes retailers rethink their position as the fees begin to mount. Current statistics indicate UK-wide fees approach one billion GBP per year, which is very, very high. Even so, no retailer can afford to ignore card transactions altogether in this day and age.

BRC head of payments and consumer credit Andrew Cregan adds:

“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 are now looking to the Government and Regulator to tackle the alarming increases to card scheme fees imposed on retailers, and for action to simplify the complex fees and charges levied by the card payments industry.”

Something will need to change in terms of card scheme fees. BRC Claims the fees rose by 39% in the year 2017 alone. This is not good news for retailers, even though consumers do not notice this problem all that much. For domestic spending, higher fees have no real impact for UK consumers. When traveling abroad, that situation becomes very different all of a sudden.

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JP Buntinx is a 30-year old FinTech and Bitcoin enthusiast living in Belgium. His passion for finance and technology made him one of the world's leading freelance Bitcoin writers, and he is working to achieve the same level of respect in the FinTech sector.

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