THE team at www.merchantadviceservice.co.uk undertook a study of more than 1,200 UK business owners about their thoughts on payment processing, finding that 61% of businesses would like to see the contactless payment cap increased or removed and a further 52% would like to remove the option of cash payments.

With the recent cap increasing on contactless payments, all business owners were initially asked if this increase was enough, with 61% admitting they would like to see the cap increased even further, or to have no cap in place at all. 

It was also found that 86% of businesses favour card and contactless payments over any other option; with a further 52% admitting they would be happy to remove the option for customers to pay by cash and to only have the option to pay by card or contactless.

When asked to state roughly how many of their in-store transactions were made via card or contactless, as opposed to cash (when their premises had been open), the top industries where cash is becoming less of a go-to payment option were found to be:
·       Transport – 93% (average transactions made via card or contactless)
·       Retail – 89% 
·       Travel – 87%
·       Food & drink – 75%
·       Hospitality and entertainment – 66%

The top reasons businesses cited for wanting to remove cash payments were found to be removing the need for cash to be on-site (51%) and reducing the amount of trips required to the bank (30%). 

Finally, when asked if they felt consumer attitudes had changed towards paying for transactions since the start of the COVID-19 had changed, 95% agreed they had; one in three (34%) even noted that customers are apologetic when having to use cash when making a purchase.

Libby James, co-founder of www.merchantadviceservice.co.uk, commented: “Contactless payments have been incredibly popular from the moment they became an option, but with everything that’s happened over the course of the past year, we’ve definitely seen a shift in less and less people carrying cash on them than ever before. 

“Whether that’s because they’re not going to the bank or to their local ATMs to withdraw it, they’re weary of the amount of people who can touch one single note or simply because they’re unsure of whether businesses will or won’t take cash in the current climate.

“The results here definitely show the need for a further contactless payment cap increase, even though we’ve just had one, or for it to be removed altogether. That being said, the payment cap does offer some level of safety and security to the bank account owner and processes would need to be in place beforehand to ensure everyone’s money is as safe as possible, especially if their card were to be lost and fall into the wrong hands.”