Contactless card

Some of the UK's smallest retailers could be missing out on crucial Christmas trading if they're not able to offer card or contactless payments, according to new research from EE.

The study showed that four in five (80%) of shoppers in the UK expect to be able to pay for goods using their credit or debit cards, but 25% - the equivalent of 13 million people - have been forced to abandon purchases due to a lack of card facilities.

More than a quarter (28%) of those surveyed said they prefer to use contactless because it is easier, and 29% said they prefer it because of its speed.

According to data from the UK Cards Association, in December last year spending on cards reached £49 billion over more than one billion transactions, 6.4% higher than the previous year. EE's research indicates that retailers who can't process card payments are letting one of the heaviest spending periods of the year pass them by.

Regionally, Brighton is where shoppers are most likely to use their credit or debit card for the majority of their transactions (72%). York sits just behind on 71%, but London falls in the bottom half with just 61% said they use their card for most transactions. Newcastle has the lowest level at 51%. And the Welsh and Scottish capitals reported 56% and 53% of people using their card for most transactions, respectively.

Mike Tomlinson, director of small business at EE, said: “Christmas is one of the most important trading periods of the year for most small businesses, and our research shows how vital it is to offer shoppers the ability to pay by card."