“Britain is a country full of niche shops and charming cafes that attract both locals and tourists from around the world. Unfortunately, some of these shops don't accept card payments and aren't realizing that they're shutting the door to the majority of customers who no longer carry cash.”
“The research revealed that one-in-five consumers reported to have left a store in the past six months, and didn't make a purchase because they couldn't pay with their card.”
“Businesses in London are most likely to miss out if they don’t offer card payment services — half (50%) of consumers in the capital have left a shop in the past six months because they couldn’t pay by card. On average, Londoners walk out of shops 8.6 times a year because they can’t pay by card.”As much as I’d like to have you all believe this, much in that first sentence is rose tinted glasses. But the journalist has a job to do, so we’ll let that slip. But the claim that 120m transactions a year are lost because some shops don’t accept cards stands out particularly. Let’s pull this apart somewhat.
- Numbers without context are meaningless. Last year, debit cards alone were used in 48% all retail payments, totaling 7.3 billion transactions. So the number we're talking about here is less than 2% of card transactions - rather less dramatic
- “On average, Londoners walk out of shops 8.6 times a year because they can’t pay by card. I pay with my card everywhere, and for everything”. I can’t honestly remember the last time that I couldn’t pay by card, let alone every 6 weeks that this implies. Another highly unscientific survey, but of the 10 people I asked this morning, none of those could think of an occasion either.
- Making statements that many of us will automatically dismiss because we know they can't be true (ie. 5 million Londoners have walked out 4 times of a shop because they couldn't pay by card in the last 6 months is patently untrue) means we’re now likely to be as skeptical about all the numbers in the release.