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RETAIL ENVIRONMENT

UK leads European cashless payments

The UK leads the continental cashless payment market generating £81.3 trillion in electronic transactions, almost double the amount spent in any other European country, according to new research from Expert Market.

The study assessed data for all 29 countries in the European Union, looking at the number of cashless transactions and total revenue from digital payments to determine the countries with the most digitally-ready businesses.

The UK also generated the highest total number of cashless payment transactions with 25,154 million. Second on the list is Germany, with the report stating that new measures such as bringing in card payments to all taxis in Berlin have triggered a ‘contactless revolution’ that puts the country’s annual cashless spend at £48.7 trillion.

At the other end of the scale is Malta, which came last for cashless payments with only £89 million – 535 times less than the UK. In 2016, research by the European Central Bank showed that 92 per cent of transactions in Malta still involved cash.

Common opinion, according to the report, is that Malta’s reluctance to move money digitally is linked to ‘hidden economies’ and using cash for tax evasion – this may still present issues for businesses looking to tap into digital sales as a lack of demand has reduced the availability of cashless payment options.

Jared Keleher, lead author of the research, commented: “For most countries the march of cashless is inevitable, but the winners in the next few years will be the countries that can equip older sectors with cashless capabilities.

“Looking at Germany in second position, which so recently lagged behind, initiatives like theirs to update payments in taxis could push businesses into the modern world and help their economies to keep up with a changing world. Cashless economies allow people to make payments at any time anywhere, and crucially, in any currency.”

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