Consumer survey: The value of cash on the UK high street

Tim Halford – Managing Director Cardtronics UK and Ireland

With the face of UK high streets changing (for example through closing bank branches), the report “The value of cash on the UK high street”, published by independent cash machine operator Cardtronics UK and conducted by independent research company Populus, highlights the ongoing importance of cash and the presence of ATMs for local communities and businesses:

Cash access is crucial to retailers and is popular among shoppers: 

  • 52% of SME high street retail businesses say they rely heavily on cash payments
  • Around half of turnover (46%) at these retailers is generated through cash payments
  • On average, high street shoppers have to purchase goods to the value of £7 in order for the transaction to be free on a card
  • However, the average high street shopper will only consider paying a card fee for transactions above a value of £14
  • When shopping on a high street, shoppers prefer cash over card for purchases below a mean value of £17
  • The vast majority of consumers (53%) say their payment habits have not changed despite the availability of new payment technologies

ATMs and other banking services play a key role for the popularity and vitality of British high-streets:  

  • Local ATMs inject on average £16.30 per withdrawal directly into the tills of stores in the vicinity
  • Over the course of a year, this amounts to £36bn that local ATMs pump directly into the UK high street, which is more than a third of the total annual high street spend identified in the survey
  • Up to 11.7m shoppers would abandon their local high-street if they were not able to withdraw money and shop at the same time
  • 54% of shoppers use an ATM during their high street visit
  • 57% of retailers agree that services like ‘cashback’ can by no means fully replace the benefits of having an ATM on the high-street, while only 26% disagree
  • Only 2% of consumers use cashback facilities during their high-street shop

The report draws on research into SME high street retailers paired with insights into the behaviours and views of UK consumers.

The fieldwork consisted of both consumer and retailer research:

  • 4,049 online surveys with British adults over the age of 18 (Data was weighted to be representative of British adults in terms of age, gender, region and social grade)
  • 250 ten-minute telephone interviews with a random sample of respondents who met the following criteria: owner/proprietor, in the retail sector and located on a high street

Tim Halford joined Cardtronics in 2010, having previously held a number of senior positions in both IT services and technology. As Managing Director for UK and Ireland, Tim is responsible for the company performance and ensuring Cardtronics delivers a first-class service to its customers

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