skip to main content

2,627 shops listed | Last updated: 23 February 2020

Monitor Add a site

Online shopping helps debit cards account for half of purchases

05 June 2014 - 09:28 by Graham Miller

Share on

The British Retail Consortium (BRC), has confirmed this week that debit cards are now used in the majority of shopping transactions across the UK, with the popularity of safe shopping online being cited as the main reason for this shift away from cash.

As well as the influence of the web, more people are using debit cards endowed with contactless technology to make payments in-store. Even the rise of self-service checkouts has helped to make this particular platform the most popular amongst consumers.

These figures are derived from a significant sample of transactions from the past 12 months, totalling over 10 billion purchases. So it is safe to say that the era of debit card dominance is well and truly here.

Interestingly, when the figures are broken down further, cash is used in 53 per cent of individual transactions. But the point is that these are generally for much smaller sums of money.

So when someone wants to carry out safe shopping online or pay for a more expensive spree on the high street, they turn to a debit card more often than any other form of payment.

BRC spokesperson, Helen Dickinson, said that debit cards are squeezing out cash when it comes to paying for products in smaller amounts. And in the online space, this is facilitated through digital downloads to smartphones and other devices, where microtransactions are increasingly common.

With a 14 per cent dip in cash usage over the past half-decade, it seems very likely that in the long run, there will be an end to physical currency, even if it takes many years to be completely eradicated.

Meanwhile, this report's analysis of the growing importance of e-commerce in shaping how people shop is positive news for retailers operating on the web.