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Cash use falls as consumers turn to alternative payment methods, says BRC


Cash payments fell by almost 10% last year, with online shopping and alternative payment methods becoming increasingly popular, according to a new survey by the British Retail Consortium (BRC).


The survey, which examined 10 billion retail payments made in 2012, reveals that cash usage declined both in terms of money spent (down 9.7%) and the number of transactions (down 6.7%).


The BRC said this was the first time in the survey's 13 year history that both measures had declined.


Despite this, cash was still the most popular way to pay last year, accounting for 54% of all transactions. This was followed by debit card payments, which rose by 3.2% to make up 30% of all transactions.


Meanwhile, the use of money-off coupons and relatively new technology such as PayPal doubled in the space of a year. These alternative payment methods accounted for 5% of all transactions.


However, credit and charge card use fell by 3.4% as consumers tried to manage their under-pressure household budgets, the BRC said.


‘Cash is still the most popular way to pay, but our survey shows how rapidly alternative and emerging methods are gaining ground, with growth more than doubling on the previous year, albeit from a low base,’ commented Helen Dickinson, director general of the BRC.


‘These methods will be the ‘ones to watch’ in the future, and retailers are investing heavily to make sure their customers have choice and convenience in ways to pay, whether in-store, at home or on the move’.