A study by pay as you go mobile card services provider Judo has shown that 21 per cent of customers have left a shop in the last six months without making a purchase because the option of paying by card was not available. Furthermore, 19 per cent have avoided a shop because they know it only takes cash. This latter figure rises to 59 per cent for 18 to 24-year-olds, NFRN reports.
For small and medium retailers, this could clearly lead to a serious loss of revenue, one that could be critical at a time when the empty spaces in the high street testify to the difficulties many retailers face.
Indeed, the research also found 70 per cent of consumers prefer to make everyday purchases with cards and 61 per cent would spend more with a business if they allowed card payments.
The benefits of being able to take card payments might be obvious to some. On the one hand, it is very handy for customers who may not any cash with them at the moment when they want to make a purchase. Others might only have larger units of currency with them like £10 and £20 notes and prefer the convenience of using a card instead of breaking into it and being left with a bulging purse or wallet full of loose change.
Moreover, people making larger purchases might prefer not to pay by cash and being able to pay by card means people can save the time they might otherwise use queueing up at an ATM.
Although the cost and complexity of establishing a card facility can seem a problem to some small retailers, Judo board member Jon Prideaux noted: “There are many emerging payment solutions in the UK that aim to help small businesses accept credit cards."
While being able to take card payments may be helpful to retailers, at present contactless technology may be such a priority.
A study by Go Compare has found only six per cent of Britons have made one to date and a quarter are wary of doing so.
Business development director at the price comparison site John Miles said it is clear Britain is not yet ready to become a "cashless society".
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