Independents losing out to chains in cashless payments

By Melodie Michel

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Business

Offering card payments can benefit hospitality businesses' bottom line
Offering card payments can benefit hospitality businesses' bottom line
Independent hospitality businesses should ensure they offer a card payment option as British consumers increasingly see cashless payments as a decisive factor.

Over two thirds (71 per cent) of Brits carry less than £20 in cash at any one time, a survey conducted by Kalixa Pro has revealed. Additionally, half of them admit that they won’t walk further than 100 metres to find a cash machine, which makes them likely to choose between two venues according to their payment options.

A quarter of respondents said they have taken their business elsewhere because a shop or tradesman was unable to process card payments, and one in five have left empty-handed because they did not have enough cash on them. 

Colin Swain, global head of product at Kalixa, told BigHospitality: “The issue is that it is the small independent businesses that suffer, not the big chains. Not only are consumers carrying less cash, but also business travellers are moving more and more to card expenses only and this limits the likelihood that they will go to a small independent B&B or guesthouse versus a larger hotel. The same applies to an independent café versus a large chain.”

Card benefits

He explained that hospitality could increase their bottom line by offering card payments, reaching higher occupancy rates and reducing processing times and fraud risk.

“Card payments can help achieve higher occupancy rates as all customer-types, including business travellers are willing to stay at independent hotels and B&Bs.

“In addition, the ability to take card payments gives these small businesses greater security as they can take payment upfront to protect themselves from no shows and as such can manage their cash flow better.” 

Interestingly, 22 per cent or respondents said they tend to spend more when paying by card than they would spend in cash. Moreover, by providing a better customer experience, hotels and restaurants can boost repeat business. 

Cashless payments

According to the survey, the average Brit now carries £17.79 in cash – £12.81 for 18 to 24-year-olds – at any one time. In contrast, they always carry three debit or credit cards with them, with 82 per cent preferring to use cards for purchases over £20 and 52 per cent using them for payments of £20 or less.

One in ten people even admitted to paying less than full price for goods when they didn’t have enough cash on them, and this number went up to 34 per cent regarding coffee shop and market payments.

In fact, the average consumer has underpaid by £11.88 when card payments were unavailable, the survey added.

According to Swain, the benefits of accepting card payments far outweigh the costs, but he pointed out that flexible options are available for small businesses.

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