Feeds

Retailers lobby for lower charges for contactless payments

We're not made of money

Intelligent flash storage arrays

New payment technologies should be cheaper to use than existing card systems, not more expensive, retailers have said. Shop operators have claimed that card fees are already too high, running into hundreds of millions of pounds in the UK.

The British Retail Consortium (BRC) has published the results of a survey of 2009 spending which found that 44 per cent of buying is done on debit cards, while 32 per cent is still in cash. Cash buying rose on the previous year's figures because of the recession, the BRC said.

While each cash transaction cost an average of 2.1p to process, debit card transactions cost 8.9p and credit card transactions cost 33p. The BRC said that banks and technology companies should ensure that any cost savings from the use of emerging payment systems are passed on to its members.

"Retailers are seriously concerned that banks plan to make the higher debit card charging regime the norm for the emerging contactless and mobile phone payment methods," said a BRC statement. "If that happens, retailers would face huge increases in their costs as these new ways of paying replace cash – particularly for low value purchases."

"With payment technology and efficiency developing, card charges should be going down not up," said Stephen Robertson, director of the BRC. "'Contactless’ systems can bring benefits but banks are currently levying charges on card payments well beyond what it actually costs them to process those transactions. They can’t expect to maintain those excessive charges as numbers of non-cash payments grow."

The BRC said that the kinds of technologies that will replace cards – such as RFID chips as used in the Oyster cards used in London's transport system – should reduce, not increase costs.

"Any cash replacement product needs to be charged on a pence per transaction basis irrespective of the transaction value at a cost that is similar to the current cash transaction cost of 2.1 pence," said the results of its survey.

The BRC, though, said that shop owners reported that card usage costs are rising.

"Retailers are … unhappy that banks are deliberately creating new card products - with much higher charges for retailers – and moving customers across to them," said a BRC statement. "HSBC (among others) is to rollout new ‘premium’ or ‘World cards’. They attract additional interchange fees of between 0.7 per cent and 0.9 per cent on top of the average 0.75 per cent of the transaction value that the retailer previously paid."

The BRC said that its report is based on details received from retailers responsible for £151 billion in UK retail sales, which its says represents 53% of the retail market. It said that payment processing cost those retailers £588 million in 2009.

Credit cards are far less frequently used than cash or debit cards, but their costs are higher. The BRC said that it costs a shop 33p on average to process a credit card payment.

"£278 million (47 per cent of [the] total) is spent on credit cards acceptance – yet these transactions only represent 11 per cent of total transactions," said the BRC report.

The BRC said that bank charges for collecting debit card payments were rising, and had almost doubled in the last five years.

See: The report (5-page / 241KB Word document)

Copyright © 2010, OUT-LAW.com

OUT-LAW.COM is part of international law firm Pinsent Masons.

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

More from The Register

next story
Mighty Blighty broadbanders beg: Let us lay cable in BT's, er, ducts
Complain to Ofcom that telco has 'effective monopoly'
Download alert: Nearly ALL top 100 Android, iOS paid apps hacked
Attack of the Clones? Yeah, but much, much scarier – report
Yahoo! blames! MONSTER! email! OUTAGE! on! CUT! CABLE! bungle!
Weekend woe for BT as telco struggles to restore service
Fujitsu CTO: We'll be 3D-printing tech execs in 15 years
Fleshy techie disses network neutrality, helmet-less motorcyclists
Soz, web devs: Google snatches its Wallet off the table
Killing off web service in 3 months... but app-happy bonkers are fine
Ofcom tackles complaint over Premier League footie TV rights
Virgin Media: UK fans pay the most for the fewest matches
FCC: Gonna need y'all to cough up $1.5bn to put broadband in schools
Kids need more fiber, says Wheeler, and you'll pay for it
NBN Co screws lid on FTTP coffin
Copper and HFC dominate in new corporate plan
prev story

Whitepapers

Seattle children’s accelerates Citrix login times by 500% with cross-tier insight
Seattle Children’s is a leading research hospital with a large and growing Citrix XenDesktop deployment. See how they used ExtraHop to accelerate launch times.
Why CIOs should rethink endpoint data protection in the age of mobility
Assessing trends in data protection, specifically with respect to mobile devices, BYOD, and remote employees.
A strategic approach to identity relationship management
ForgeRock commissioned Forrester to evaluate companies’ IAM practices and requirements when it comes to customer-facing scenarios versus employee-facing ones.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Protecting against web application threats using SSL
SSL encryption can protect server‐to‐server communications, client devices, cloud resources, and other endpoints in order to help prevent the risk of data loss and losing customer trust.