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Consumers lose patience with cash-only businesses after five months

22 February 2019 Data Insights

Picture it, a great new coffee shop has appeared on your daily route to work. Everything about is spot on: the atmosphere, the people, the staff and the coffee. To die for. And then, at the last minute, they say they don’t take cards. What a shame…

New research conducted nationwide by Paymentsense shows that on average, UK consumers are prepared to wait up to four and a half months for a business to begin accepting card payments after they first asked.

In some cities, such as Birmingham, customers will only wait for 3.5 months. Manchester isn’t much more patient and will only wait for 3.6 months.

What happens if you don’t accept cards after that? Quite simply, many will vote with their feet and may never visit your business again.

Consumers were asked, “If you walk into a small business, retailer or independent coffee shop or food outlet and want to pay by card, but they don’t accept cards, how do you react?”

On average, across the UK, if a business doesn’t accept payment after 4.5 months of their last visit, 53% of consumers said they would leave the shop straight away without buying anything.

And what’s worse, 30% said they would be less likely to return.

In London, 66% would leave without buying anything and 40% would be less likely to visit again.


That’s crazy. In London, 40% might never visit again!

The customers aren’t the crazy ones though. They’re busy. And competition’s fierce these days. If you don’t give them what they want, someone else will.

Perhaps we’re all spoiled. We don’t want to wait in long queues. We don’t want to bother trudging around looking for the best deals; we’d rather let our fingers do the walking – online. We want to pay for things quickly, any way we want to.

A business may have got everything else right. Their products or services may be amazing and their location and pricing spot on. The customer may like the owner and want to buy from them.

At that vital point-of-purchase, all that hard work’s been a waste of time. The customer wants to buy, card in hand and, at the very last step in the buying process, they’re disappointed. They may have looked around for a while before committing and perhaps waited in a long queue.


A closer look revealed some surprising results.

  1. Think hotheaded youngsters were leading the walkout? Well the figures showed quite the opposite. Of all the groups, Millennials (25-34 years) were the most forgiving and were willing to wait 5.1 months for a business to accept payment by card. Surprisingly, people over 65 were the least patient and were prepared to wait for only 3.9 months.
  2. The next result is based on income. You’d think that the the more someone earns, the less patient they would be, because they’re busy and are used to being pandered to. But the results were again surprising: People earning between £25k and £50k are prepared to wait: 4.3 months; those between £50k and £100K, 4.5 months and those earning over £100K, 6.1 months.
  3. In terms of regions, you’d expect the largest cities to be least patient, so that London would come out top. But it didn’t. Saintly Londoners gave businesses the benefit of the doubt for 4.5 months, whereas Brummies walked after just 3.5 months.

So, what’s the overall conclusion? There may be small differences regionally and in terms of age and income, but overall, the message is loud and clear. Increasingly, people prefer to pay by card, not cash.

According to UK Finance, the bank industry’s trade body, in 2017, cash payments had fallen by 15% to 13.1 billion payments. By comparison, 16.3 billion pos payments were made by debit and credit card and so overtook cash as the UK’s favourite payment method.

Cards have become an essential part of our convenience-obsessed world.


These days, no business can afford NOT TO accept card payments.

No-one can afford to turn away business because they’re not prepared to accept an increasingly popular payment method. If a customer wants to buy right away and wants to pay by card, why stand in their way?

Having a card reader makes sense for even the smallest business. It can attract new customers, boost your profits and make your business appear up-to-date and professional.

Even small businesses can find themselves dealing with big queues. Card machines are tiny queue-busters. ‘Tap and go’ applies to the queue, not just the transaction.

card machine can also speed up the time it takes to transfer funds from your customer’s account to your business account. That’s a great help when it comes to improving that all-important cash flow.


There are three types of card machine: Countertop, Portable and Mobile. Each is suitable for a particular kind of business.

  1. Countertop card machines are best for businesses with a fixed point of sale on a counter.
  2. Portable card machines use wifi or Bluetooth and let you take payment to customers. They’re handy for cafes, restaurants and bars.
  3. Mobile card machines connect to a mobile network so you can take payment while out and about. They’re great for market traders and those who travel to events.


All our card machines feature the latest software and a built-in receipt printer. They come ready to sync with your till or EPOS straight from the box. Each accepts contactless, Apple Pay, Android Pay and Samsung Pay. And if your machine goes goes on the blink (it happens, even to the best) we’ll have a replacement with you in 24 hours.

Everything we do is designed to support small businesses. And we really mean everything.

We can have you up and running with one of our card machines in just three days. Each small business card machine is configured to work straight from the box. There’s no complicated, or fiddly set-up. Just plug it in and you’re ready to accept card, contactless and mobile payments (like Apple Pay).

We understand that closing for business doesn’t mean your day is done. You still need to run end-of-day figures ready for processing. Our card machines can do this for you in moments, freeing your time and allowing you to leave work at work.


What does it cost to take card payments?

Because no business is the same, we don’t believe card-processing fees should be the same. It’s common sense. So we take the time to understand your business, and as well as where and how you’d like to take card payments, before giving you exact costs.

However, our rates are the best around, often 40% lower, thanks to our Strength-in-Numbers approach.How does this work? We use the collective size of over 70,000 customers and £10 billion in combined transactions, to act as one big Merchant to negotiate better deals and lower rates and therefore, lower costs.

If you choose to have a card machine, you’ll pay a small monthly rental fee, but we don’t charge any set up fees and your bill will be easy to understand. As you may have noticed, we’re big fans of keeping things clear and simple.


Play your cards right – and get started now.

Find out about our full range of payment methods at Paymentsense and get set up now. These are the outstanding benefits we offer you:

  •     We’re one of the fastest-growing payment processing companies in Europe, currently handling over £10 billion in annual transactions for more than 70,000 businesses in Britain and Ireland.
  •     And we’re independent. We’ve gone from start-up to over 70,000 customers in less than a decade, so we know exactly what it’s like to start out on your own.
  •     We understand the importance of savings for small business, so we combine the buying power of our 70,000+ customers to negotiate better fees for them.
  •     Flat-rate yearly fees based on transaction volume.
  •     A full range of very affordable card machines available.
  •     Our technical support staff are on call 24/7 – so if anything should go wrong with your card machine, we’ll have it fixed in a flash.

Why wait? Take card payments in just 3 days.