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Brits use less cash as online transactions increase

31 May 2013 - 10:22 by Paul Tissington

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Last year consumers in the UK used cash in 10 per cent fewer retail transactions than they did in 2011, indicating that the use of cards and the internet is beginning to chip away at popularity of coins and notes.

Over 10 billion payments were analysed by the British Retail Consortium (BRC) in order to arrive at these figures and, while 54 per cent of transactions are still carried out using cash, this is actually the first year during which usage fell.

Intriguingly the use of credit cards dropped last year, with a 3.4 per cent reduction in payments made using this type of technology. Meanwhile debit card payments were up by 3.2 per cent, while services like PayPal saw serious boost to their usages thanks to the popularity of safe shopping online.

Experts believe that part of the reason for the decline in credit card payments is that people are put off by the surprisingly high charges which are still levelled against this type of cash alternative.

The report also looked at revenues across the retail sector, with almost a quarter of companies experiencing improved sales while a third said that they made less money in 2012 than they did the year before.

The decline in cash payments is almost certainly linked to the shrinkage of the UK's high street market, where sales fell again last month and the outlook remains uncertain.

Conversely the online retail industry is still riding the crest of a wave of growth that shows no sign of slowing down this year.

Because people can use alternative methods to carry out payments when using safe shopping online, the options available are actually diversifying and people are being empowered to pay with whatever means is most convenient at the time.