According to Mark Latham of Handepay, “Britain has well and truly embraced a cashless society, because of its ease and convenience.”
Go down any high street in Britain and you’ll find most vendors are happy to take your card. Smaller shops and traditional markets are really the last of the cash only places
However, on a global scale Britain, is lagging behind. Sweden and Canada are much closer to achieving a cash-free society. Cash payments in both Canada and Sweden are already below 40per cent.
Considering Britain is one of the largest financial hubs in the word, this is quite a surprise. Looking at the differences and similarities, it is clear why there is such a gap. Like Canada, the UK is home to several global payment solutions like Ecopayz.
Ecopayz allows customers online and physical card payment options. Safe and secure, Ecopayz is slowly gaining popularity in the UK. Contrasting to Canada, where online payment options are widely used and accepted as the norm. This difference in attitudes towards cashless payments is why a cashless UK is still years away.
That is except for London. Nowhere in the UK is more accepting of cashless than London. To quote London’s mayor Sadiq Khan “London is open”. When it comes to cash-free payments, it seems London and Londoner’s are more open. Here, we look at the London people and businesses going cashless.
Pret-A-Manger has noticed that over 50 per cent of their customers pay with cards. Founded in 1986, Pret- A- Manger is one of London’s most popular coffee stores. Out of their 486 stores, a whopping 237 are located in London. Recently, Pret announced they will be giving away 30,000 free coffees in London as part of a charity initiative.
Weatherspoon’s is the go-to choice for students, families, and friends. According to revenue reports, JD Wetherspoon made over £1.6 billion pounds in 2017. Similarly, to Pret, Wetherspoon reported a drop in card transactions. In 2012/2013, cash payments accounted for over 70% of total sales. During the same 2016/2017 period, cash payments dropped to below 50%.
Asian inspired UK restaurant Wagamama first opened over 25 years ago. Since their debut, Wagamama’s have always pioneered the use of technology in their restaurants. London branches of Wagamama’s were among the first to replace order pads with smart tablets. Now they are leading the charge to go completely cashless. This is thanks to their new Wagamama bill-free payment app. Partnering with Mastercard, Wagamama created the app to improve customer experience. Thanks to the easy to use app, diners no longer need to wait around for a bill. Emma Woods who is customer director for Wagamama explained: “Customers are accustomed to one-click payments for online retailers and walk-out payments from Uber, but there hasn’t been an app offering all of these functions for restaurants, which is what we have now created.”
Traditionally a cash-only enterprise, even London’s street performers are going cashless. Londoner’s be warned, not having cash will no longer be an excuse. Street artists, performers or buskers are something of a tourist trap in London. However, the time for offering your loose change to buskers is over. In order to maximise their potential, street artists are also going cashless in London. Around central London, buskers are now equipped with QR codes and Paypal accounts. Perfect for cashing in on those of us who don’t carry cash.
Although Oxford Street and Westfield’s are busting, markets are still frequented in London. Particularly around Christmas time, when Southbank Christmas market and Winter Wonderland open. Over 200 vendors operate at Hyde Park’s Winter Wonderland. Delicious foods, ornaments, and clothes are some of the items available to buy. While cash is still the favourite form of currency for vendors, more are accepting cards. This is good news for tourists and locals worried about carrying cash.