By Daniel Hunter

A report from the British Retail Consortium (BRC) has identified that cash is still preferred for nearly 60% of transactions, yet there are also suggestions that the appeal of cash is on the wane with the growth of online shopping.

Leading online cash provider, Ukash, however disputes any predictions about the death of cash, saying they are premature. Indeed, Miranda McLean, Marketing Director at Ukash actually believes there may be a swing towards greater use of cash online as consumers become more concerned about card and identity fraud. The appeal of e-commerce for the unbanked youth market also needs to be served by online cash solutions.

“In the first quarter of 2013 we saw an increase of more than 10% in the use of Ukash online cash in the UK which we believe proves that the use of cash and shopping online are not mutually exclusive”, said Miranda McLean.

“Indeed, recent independent research commissioned by Ukash has identified that nearly a third of online shoppers actually prefer to pay with cash. This reinforces the analysis from the BRC that shows alternative options such as PayPal and vouchers like Ukash are starting to make headway, accounting for two per cent of total sales turnover in 2012 and five per cent of transactions.

“Crucially, according to our research, the 18-24 year old age group are the biggest fans of using cash online, favoured by over half. The convenience of shopping online, of course, appeals to this group, but equally they want payment choices that don’t necessarily require a bank account or credit card. We believe they want this choice both because they don’t want to have to provide personal details online as well as because they can budget more effectively with cash.”

The research reinforces the fact that consumers still value cash and would prefer to combine this with modern online payment methods, an area that Ukash addresses. 87% of respondents said they carry cash on them every day.

“At a time when every penny counts, our latest research shows that contrary to predictions emanating from the BRC analysis, we are far from becoming a cash-free society," McLean added.

"We believe it’s important that online retailers recognise this trend, especially amongst younger consumers. Indeed, Helen Dickinson, director general of the BRC acknowledged the importance of retailers investing in alternative payment choices.”

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