Debit Cards Knock off Cash as No. 1 Payment Method in U.K.

Cash is no longer king in the U.K., according to the British Retail Consortium’s (BRC) annual Payments Survey, which found that debit card transactions accounted for almost 43 percent of all retail transactions in 2016, overtaking cash, which accounted for 42 percent of all retail transactions, for the first time.

Falling average transaction values in debit and credit card payments shows that cards increasingly are displacing cash for lower-value payments, the BRC said. The report also attributed the growth in card payments to the increasing acceptance and use of contactless payments.

Transport for London recently marked a milestone of more than 1 billion contactless payments for transit journeys in the U.K. capital city.

While the BRC praised the £500 million (US$743 million dollars) in savings retailers have realized through EU interchange caps that went into effect in December of 2015, the group called for “further regulatory action to address the alarming increase in other card fees and charges at a time when the retail industry is facing acute cost pressures elsewhere.” Particularly, the BRC is urging regulators to bring commercial cards, which are currently exempt, under the scope of the interchange regulation.

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