An overwhelming majority of UK consumers still choose cash as their preferred payment method, a new report today has revealed.
Of those surveyed 68 per cent selected cash as the favourite way to pay, with as many as 32 per cent saying that cash made them feel more in control of their finances, but most people seem willing to consider new tech alternatives.
Wincor Nixdorf, the global solutions provider which conducted the research, found that 63 per cent were open to the idea of life without cash but only if the right infrastructure is put in place.
Ed Brindley, Director of Marketing at Wincor Nixdorf, said: “Right now, the UK isn’t ready to move to a cashless society.
“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.
“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.”
Card payments tend only to be used for large transactions with 58 per cent claiming that they reserve plastic payments for only this purpose.
New technologies such as contactless and mobile offer new possibilities for point-of-sale (POS) services but these must be slowly introduced before consumers feel happy to trust them completely.
“These technologies need to be universal & generic and people need to know that these payments are going to be accepted,” Brindley told Retail Gazette.
“One thing that came out of the survey is the need for retailers to offer a multichannel payment structure.
“Consumers do not want to be forced down any particular option and at the moment they do not perceive contactless and cards as a real alternative.”
Wincor Nixdorf builds self-service machines for leading supermarket Tesco, and Brindley is sure that most traders would be very happy to use these new technologies to eliminate the burden of coins.
Coins are heavy, their small value takes up a disproportionate amount of space, and they cause the ongoing logistical problem of having to regularly replenish coppers in cash registers across the country.
Brindley says that if managed correctly we could end up with a three-tier POS system where small purchases are made by mobile or contactless, medium-sized buys are made by cash notes, and the large acquisitions are made via cards.
“To a certain extent adoption rates are in the hands of the new technology providers and how aggressively they want to be in rolling these systems out.”