Cash still King
Cash is still the preferred payment method for 68% of the UK population. Calling into question the belief that a move to a cashless society is imminent, the independent study commissioned by retail and banking solutions provider Wincor Nixdorf also revealed that financial control is a key factor in the continued preference for cash transactions.
Out of the 2006 consumers questioned, 58% save card purely for large transactions and almost a third (32%) feel more in control of their finances when paying by cash. With businesses pushing towards more card-based transactions such as contactless payment, the study highlights the work that still needs to be done to convince consumers that card payments are a more effective option for everyday transactions.
Consumers want the choice...
“What’s clear from this study is that consumers don’t want to be forced into one payment method. They want a choice and cash is currently the preferred option for the majority of people,” commented Ed Brindley, Director of Marketing at Wincor Nixdorf. “Although there are benefits to card payments in certain situations, such as increased payment speed for larger transactions, consumers are not convinced by the cashless model and that’s unlikely to change overnight. The challenge for retailers and banks is therefore to find a way of managing all the various payment methods, from cash to debit and credit cards, as efficiently as possible. This will ensure consumers are offered the payment options that meet their requirements, be it exerting more control over their spending or greater convenience. In order to adopt a cashless society, the industry needs to not only ensure the infrastructure and technology is flawless, but also convince consumers that cards offer the same benefits as cash.”
The survey also concurs with the recent decision to cancel plans to abolish cheques, with those surveyed questioning the practicalities of a sudden change to payment methods. However, the survey did reveal that if the right infrastructure was in place, 63% of respondents would be happy to move towards a cashless society where cards were the only payment method and cash was simply not an option. In addition, the overwhelming majority (81%) stated they would make more use of cards for everyday transactions if offered an incentive by businesses, such as a discount on purchases or extra loyalty card bonuses.
“Right now, the UK isn’t ready to move to a cashless society,” added Brindley. “Yet consumers are more open to paying by card in the future if the technology, security and other parts of the core infrastructure are in place. However for now it is clear that, as consumers seek to control their expenditure, they trust cash more than any other payment so businesses need to meet this demand and continue to look for ways to decrease their cash handling costs. The study shows that it’s not about choosing one payment method over the other – it’s purely about processing all transactions as efficiently as possible and offering consumers the choice they need.”