Cash to card: how retailers are making the move while keeping customers happy

With card payments on the rise and cash payments declining, how are retailers reacting to make customers feel welcome?

Card payments cashless terminal

“Pre-Covid-19, we were 70:30 in favour of cash, and we’re now 60:40 in favour of cards. That’s a massive swing and I think in some ways it’s great. There’s less cash to hand so there’s less risk. Once a payment is made, it will be in your account the next day and no one can get at the actual money. We didn’t have a minimum spend before Covid-19 because it’s so readily available now and the cost is pro rata.

“It’s knocking customers away if you have a minimum spend. Maybe it was viable five years ago, but the world has moved on 10 years in the past 18 months. Everything that’s happened was going to happen, but it would have happened more slowly without Covid-19.

“It seems like the beginning of the end for cash. Certain shops are going down the route of trialling being cashless. It’s a nice idea, but we’d never want to do that. We would never turn down cash. We’ll take any sort of payment, including cheques.”

“Before the pandemic, we were 20:80 card to cash. Now we’re 50:50. I think the people who’ve stuck with cash up to now will stay with cash. Elderly people like the old school of cash, but they’ll use cards as well. Things have changed, and the pandemic changed the speed of things changing. I think in the future, with more technology and people able to pay with their phones, things will go further in favour of cards, and you’ve got to change with the times. But it’s a bigger expense to your business.

“Some people have a minimum spend – ours is £2.50. But I think eventually you’ll need to drop things. The up-and-coming generation uses cards. You have to make it easy. There are a few people who ask if we take cash. By law in the UK you must accept cash. So we won’t reduce the petty cash or the kitty for change.”

“We’re 90:10 card to cash now. Five years ago we were 60:40, so it’s been a huge transition. We had a minimum spend when I came in and I knew it would put me off shopping here, so I looked at the prices and moved to a new supplier (Worldpay) with a better deal, and I got rid of the minimum spend.

“However, if it’s got the queen’s head on it, we’ll take it. There are a quite few customers who were worried that they wouldn’t be able to pay using cash during Covid-19. A lot of places in London have used Covid-19 to strip cash out of their business. But cash remains a very important part of our business, for people who might not have a bank account or feel uncomfortable using card.

“We’ve explained how the contactless limits work to older people. If they’re transitioning, we help that journey, and if they’re not, we accept cash. There’s no reason not to.”

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