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Now credit cards are used more than cash in the UK

Debit cards had already overtaken notes and coins but now credit cards have too, according to the British Retail Consortium. This is why The Big Issue is giving vendors the chance to join the Cashless Revolution

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Debit cards had already toppled cash as the most widely used payment method but now credit cards have also leap-frogged coins and notes.

That’s the findings of the British Retail Consortium’s latest Payment Survey which discovered that three-in-five transactions made in 2018 were done on debit cards.

But there was a change in second spot. Cash payments continued their decline – over the past five years, cash use has dropped from over half of all transactions in 2013 to under 40 per cent in 2018 with the value falling suit by dropping from 28 per cent to 20 per cent.

In total, UK retail sales were up 4.1 per cent to £381bn with 20.1 billion transactions – or 55 million transactions per day – also up on 2017 levels.

The BRC has warned that cash remains particularly vital for vulnerable people and insisted they are working to ensure the long-term viability of cash machines as well as reducing barriers that prevent many businesses from offering cashback to customers.

Just yesterday, Which? reported that the poorest communities in the UK were losing cash machines at the fastest rate while last year’s Access to Cash Review also highlighted the perils of becoming a totally cashless society too.

Andrew Cregan, BRC policy advisor for payments and consumer credit, said: “With card payments accounting for almost 80 per cent of retail sales, it is vital that the government takes action to tackle the soaring costs that card companies charge retailers.

“Without action we will see businesses put under further pressure and it will be consumers who are forced to pay the price.”

The BRC findings will come as no surprise. The Big Issue has been working to protect our vendors from the decline in cash through our team-up with iZettle.

Vendors have the chance to sell the magazine using card readers that they receive at a discounted rate, ensuring they can keep up sales even though less people are carrying cash.

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For over 30 years, the Big Issue has been committed to ending poverty in the UK. In 2024, our work is needed more than ever. Find out how you can support the Big Issue today.
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