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Debit cards replacing cheques at retailers

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12/05/2008

Figures released by APACS, the UK payments association, show that the debit card retains its popularity at retailers, with spending rising by 11% last year.

This rise serves as a stark contrast from cheque spending, which declined by 7.5% in terms of value and 13% by volume, over the same period.

The statistics, which cover all retail transactions in 2007, both online and offline, show debit card spending at 42% (£109bn) of the total £261bn spent, against cheque at 3% (£7.5bn) and cash at 32% (£84bn).

Interestingly, the findings also reveal that while the debit card is experiencing a hike in usage, credit card spending at retailers has levelled out over the last three years. This suggests that people are tending to prefer a ‘pay now’ approach as opposed to a ‘pay later’ option when at the tills.

Sandra Quinn, director of communications at APACS, said: “As retailers are increasingly deciding to stop accepting cheques, it is expected that a large proportion of those payments will migrate to debit card payments. This will simply accelerate a change that is well underway as over the last three years we have seen debit card spending rise 31%, cheque spending fall 33% and cash spending reach a point of equilibrium.

“We are becoming increasingly reliant on our plastic cards at retailers as they offer us convenience, speed and access to services, such as the cashback facility, which other payment options cannot provide. Different situations suit certain payments and it seems that the high street is truly the place for the debit card.”

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