Cash-only SMEs risk Christmas losses worth a total of £2bn

Almost half of shoppers will leave if card payment is not possible, with cash-only shoppers risking a loss this Christmas.

Nearly half (45 per cent) of UK shoppers walk out of cash-only smaller retailers and independent outlets because they can’t pay by card, according to new research from card machine provider Paymentsense.

A further quarter are also unlikely to return to a store if it didn’t take cards on a former visit.

The study of over 1,000 consumers revealed that, shoppers use their cards to spend just under £135 a month, on average, in smaller retailers, independent restaurants and cafes. With 80 per cent of those surveyed owning a contactless card, a total of over £2 billion of consumer spending could be lost by small businesses which can’t take cards, in the month run up to Christmas.

Shoppers in the capital are even less forgiving, with more than half (54 per cent) of Londoners surveyed saying they’d walk out of small businesses offering no card payment option. Those in Manchester were not far behind with a walkout rate of 50 per cent. The survey also revealed that Londoners spend £230 a month in independent outlets, making their high walkout rate even more costly to local retailers.

Guy Moreve, head of marketing at Paymentsense comments, ‘Contactless card payment is fast becoming the norm, with our research showing that most consumers now use credit and debit cards. Shoppers now expect to use them almost everywhere – both in a traditional or contactless manner.

‘As well as the significant revenue loss, our study suggests that smaller retailers and cafes who don’t yet take card or contactless payments, could permanently lose every fourth customer, which would be a particularly difficult blow at this busy time of year,’ he adds.

Highest city average SME card spend, per month

London            £229.74
Oxford             £173.33
Leeds              £158.44
Nottingham      £151.85
Manchester     £136.19

Lowest city average SME card spend, per month

Belfast             £59.09
Sheffield          £65.53
Cardiff             £65.93
Aberdeen        £70.59
Glasgow          £70.93

Further reading on cash-only SMEs

Owen Gough, SmallBusiness UK

Owen Gough

Owen was a reporter for Bonhill Group plc writing across the and titles before moving on to be a Digital Technology reporter for the

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Card Payments