Posted: 07/08/2017

Retailers keen to go 100% cashless as Visa starts US drive

VisaThere are signs that independent retailers would be willing to go cashless after reports that a US scheme set up by Visa could be heading for the UK if trials prove successful.

FFD has spoken to several retailers who agreed with the sentiments of the Visa Cashless Challenge – a competition that rewards small food business owners in America with as much as $500,000 (£381,440) for joining its “100% cashless quest”.

Although it has no firm plans, Visa said it hoped to offer the scheme in the UK, and there would clearly be interest in it from delis and farm shops.

Sue Hooper, who owns The Deli Around The Corner, in Tynemouth, Tyne & Wear, said six months ago she would have said there was no appetite to go cashless but she had since changed her mind.

Some 40-45% of her business was non-cash with average cashless payments worth £15-20, she estimated.

Rupert Titchmarsh, managing director of Cowdray Farm Shop & Café in Midhurst, West Sussex, said 70-80% of transactions in his shop were cashless and 30-40% in the café.

“At the moment we have a minimum spend of £5 which were are looking at because we get a certain amount of resentment from people.”

The problem, he said, was that the profit margin was lost if it took cashless payments for less than £5. “We want to see charges come down.”

He said: “We often get people just wanting to pay for a coffee with a card because they know they can do that in Starbucks which has probably negotiated a better fee structure with its card service providers than we could get.”

Cal Everitt, assistant manager at Aubrey Allen butcher and delicatessen in Leamington Spa, Warwickshire, thought a cashless society was not “too far ahead”.

He added: “Potentially it could alienate vulnerable older people but there’s always a workaround.”

Ross Brown, who owns the Browns of Brockley coffee shop in south-east London, hit the headlines when he went totally cashless earlier this year. He said the switch had saved him both money and time.

This story was taken from the August edition of Fine Food Digest. Read more here

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