back to article Retailers lobby for lower charges for contactless payments

New payment technologies should be cheaper to use than existing card systems, not more expensive, retailers have said. Shop operators have claimed that card fees are already too high, running into hundreds of millions of pounds in the UK. The British Retail Consortium (BRC) has published the results of a survey of 2009 …


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  1. new666uk

    Reduced sales prices for new payment methods?

    Am I alone in wondering if we the public should also receive some of the discounts realised by the retailers? Particularly those now pushing the self scan technology where less staff are required to 'man the tills'? B&Q seem to be moving heavily into this area - my local stores only have one till open most of the time and supervisors monitoring a bank of self scan machines.

    As we scan and pack our own products should we not receive a small cost reduction too when we use these payment methods?

  2. Jerome 0

    Should be free

    Contactless payments mean not taking a wad of cash from the cash machine. The money doesn't have to come out of your account until you actually buy the goods, and even then only the exact amount necessary is debited. Ergo, contactless payment should be free to the retailer, as the bank is already seeing a considerable advantage from it.

  3. Captain TickTock

    2.1p Cash transaction cost or charge?

    Is this what it estimatedly costs the retailer to process (cash handling by cashier) or a charge by the bank on a transaction which doesn't involve them?

    At the end of the day (lidderally!) there should only be a charge for depositing the day's cash takings, no? Really that should be proportional to the amount of cash, no tthe number of transactions

    1. Adam Williamson 1


      "or a charge by the bank on a transaction which doesn't involve them?"

      Retailers are charged, either a flat rate or a very low percentage, for all credit and debit card transactions. This is where VISA etc make a large chunk of their money, and why they can afford to provide completely 'free' service to credit card users who pay off their balances on time, and most debit card users; they charge retailers for the service so consumers don't see the costs. (In case you've ever wondered why a lot fewer retailers accept 'premium' cards like AmEx and Discover, it's because they charge retailers much higher fees to cover the additional services they offer to cardholders; it doesn't make much sense for shops which sell relatively inexpensive items to accept these cards. If you buy a pack of gum on AmEx the retailer loses a bundle of money on the transaction).

      I'm not sure where the reference to 'banks' comes in, though - AFAIK it's VISA, Mastercard etc who levy these charges. Even for the 'new contactless payment systems', which I think are mostly owned by the same companies.

      1. Captain TickTock


        my question was about cash purchases...

        the articles implied the banks charged 2.1p per cash transaction.

        AFAICT there is no per transaction cost for a bank or card provider for a cash transaction. the bank just counts the whole day's takings when it's banked.

  4. The Cube

    Then instead of whining about the nasty banks

    Why don't the Bloody Retail Cartel develop a backbone, get together and set up their own payment system and provide it through the many bank brands that retailers operate.

    Even better, whilst they are doing that, they could hire somebody capable of spelling "security" and implement something based in this century instead of the sad, laughable crap those thieving idiots who currently run the identity theft, erm, sorry, transaction networks have. No more 3D Insecure and other ridiculous jokes on retailers and the public from the bank cartel. One can only assume (as they can't all be that stupid just by sheer numbers) that the staggering negligence and incompetence that is Chip and Theft etc. etc. is down to the small number of network operators not wanting a modern and secure system based on real crypto because then they wouldn't be able to rip the retailers off with their antiquated and absurd "secure network" joke and there might be real competition in their market.

    I should be able to take the entire transcript of my debit card transaction with the retailer and post it on the Internet in cleartext without any risk of compromising me, the retailer, or the transaction. Anything less is criminal incompetence and the Wunch of Bankers responsible who should be thrown off the top of Canary Wharf one by one until they design something a little less crap, sod waiting for them to jump.

    In fact, let's put some of the government spending that won't be going into the ID cards feeding trough and give it to the Cambridge University Computer Lab (or equivalent non IT supplier or Bank) and ask them to design a real and open payment card system. Then change the law and require all the "Payment Processors" to adopt that minimum level within 3 years.

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