Plastic, say retailers, will not replace cash in near future

  • London (England) - Credit and debit cards will not replace cash in the near future, the British Retail Consortium has said in response to comments made by the Chief Executive of Visa Europe. Peter Ayliffe of Visa told The Independent on Sunday that by 2012 credit and debit cards would overtake cash as the cheaper and more convenient way of spending your money; and that retailers could begin to surcharge customers who choose to use cash because of the greater cost in processing these payments.

    Spokespeople from the BRC disagree, however, saying "We don't foresee it [a cashless society] in the immediate time period. Cash is still very popular as a method of payment for a great many people."

    Cash represents a very substantial part of total revenue for retailers - the second biggest after debit cards - and the BRC spokesman said: "I can't see that changing a huge amount in the very near future."

    At present 3/5 of all transactions worldwide are cash-based. According to research by Apacs this will be reduced to under 50 percent by 2015, when credit and debit cards will overtake cash as the preferred method of payment.