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Card payments dominate as influence of online shopping grows

14 September 2018 - 12:16 by Graham Miller

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Seventy eight per cent of purchases made in the UK retail sector are now carried out via credit or debit card, with the rise of safe shopping online helping to fuel this trend.

This is according to the latest figures published by the British Retail Consortium, which indicate that paper money and coins are continuing to fall out of favour with consumers as payment cards continue their ascendance in a digitally-driven era.

This is good news for shoppers, but bad news for retailers, who are having to fork out an extra £1 billion annually to help cover the cost of paying for the processing of card-based transactions.

This follows a gradual uptick in fees that providers levy against businesses that want to accept card payments. Even the introduction of new regulations by the EU three years ago only addressed this problem for a short period, with fresh charges introduced in the interim to wring additional earnings out of each transaction.

Ultimately it will likely be consumers that pay the price, with a rise in the cost of products and services enacted in order to adapt to the fact that retailers are being hit with payment card charges.

Report spokesperson Andrew Cregan explained that this is a significant issue and one which it hopes that politicians will tackle head-on, rather than allowing to grow out of hand. He argues that a need for a simplified system is apparent, because at the moment there are so many different administrative hurdles to overcome when dealing with card transactions.

Since shopping online is set to continue expanding in the UK and elsewhere, there is every reason to take action on this issue sooner rather than later to make sure that payment cards are still the go-to method for making purchases.