One strong theme that emerged from a seminar hosted by the UK’s Automatic Vending Association (AVA) was that there was a need to implement cashless systems or risk excluding 54% of consumers.
During one of the debates on the subject, it was reported that cash payments are still dominating, with 52% of all payments in the UK in 2013 made this way. However, with “23 per cent fewer coins issued by the CDWP since 2008”, non-cash payments are expected to overtake cash by 2015, while the value of cash payments is predicted to fall by £9 billion (4%).
However, while the use of cash in the UK is declining, the public is not yet ready to become cashless, and to ensure the vending industry continued to flourish, businesses should look towards pairing cash payments with innovative cashless payment options. While the UK marketplace is still very reliant on cashless transactions for values over £20, for amounts less than this, cash remains the preferred method of payment, particularly for those using vending machines and unattended payment systems.
Looking ahead, it is predicted that by 2020, 50% of transaction volume will come from ‘contactless’ payment systems, and is “almost certain that contactless will overtake chip and pin”, signifying an unstoppable momentum in the UK. Heavily driven by transport, particularly the impending introduction of cashless payment on Transport for London buses, the behavioural shift currently underway is at a level never seen before.
A survey of 4,000 Britons revealed that the ‘ability to pay’ was their main concern with vending. With figures showing that £46.7 billion was spent on cards in April alone, and of that, £109.2 million was contactless, the vending industry must respond and adapt to this increasing consumer demand, or risk “excluding 54% of consumers who never carry cash”.
While the debate turned to the introduction of the new £1 coin in 2017, it was stated that now was the perfect opportunity to implement new technologies, such as contactless, in order to meet consumer demand. Overall, the short term outlook pointed heavily towards demand for new, industry-wide contactless and cashless payment systems. While in the long-term, the growth of Smartphone and mobile payment apps is likely to gain momentum. In the short term, using technology to open up more payment options for the consumer will not only increase sales, it will also improve customer convenience and experience.