With each passing day, there is always a news story regarding a business, whether it’s online or bricks and mortar, that is adopting bitcoin as a new method of payment for its customers. Some of the reasons retailers are accepting the digital currency is because its costs are low, they’re fast and secure.
In the United Kingdom, however, businesses are skeptical about the cryptocurrency, despite cash payments giving the private sector accounting headaches, counterfeit notes and even theft among its customers and employees.
According to a new study published by the Payments Landscape Benchmark, UK retailers spend approximately £17.8 billion ($29.9 billion) each year using cash transactions. The survey, which sought the opinions of 1,124 business leaders, found that the average cost of handling cash is £3,638.57 ($5,946.21) due to the aforementioned discrepancies.
This is causing many businesses to re-examine their payment process in order to cut costs and save some money.
Customers are also becoming dissatisfied with cash. The study discovered that more than one-third (36 percent) of the 1,042 consumers polled are likelier to shop at a retailer that offers a wide range of payment methods – 31 percent would even put an item back if their preferred method of payment is not offered.
One-third of businesses believe eventually the British economy will become a cashless one. The future will consist of prepaid cards, digital wallets, omnichannel retail and contactless payments. These options, say retailers, will become extremely important to their business model in the next few years.
Cryptocurrencies will be one of the major facets of retailing. However, close to two-thirds (61 percent) of companies said that bitcoin and other digital currencies are nothing more than a passing “fad.” Britons don’t hold a high opinion of bitcoin either as nearly two-thirds rated bitcoin as one out of 10 – only one percent had actually used the virtual currency in the past month.
Nevertheless, businesses do concede that digital currencies will become more influential in the near future and more than one-quarter (25 percent) say the bitcoin technology will be an important element in future payments for consumers.
“For many companies, bitcoin is still more of a PR gimmick,” said Simon Black, the chief executive of Sage Pay, in a statement. “Too many businesses are focussing on bitcoin when they should give customers the options they really want, like credit, debit, and contactless payments, or Paypal online. The majority of Brits happily manage with one currency: sterling.”
A recent study coming out of Great Britain last month found that close to three-quarters (71 percent) admitted that they didn’t want to use bitcoin for their shopping needs. Nearly half (43 percent) also said that they didn’t trust it.
In the United States, meanwhile studies have found that a majority of Americans have never even heard of bitcoin. For instance, a nationwide survey conducted by The Street found that 76 percent of respondents were unaware of bitcoin and 79 percent said they would never consider acquiring the virtual currency.
“While Bitcoin has attracted the attention of influential hedge fund managers and the research desks of major US banks, an overwhelming majority of Americans remain unaware of crypto currency,” said Joe Deaux, economics analyst at The Street, in a statement.
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