UK retail industry marks 30 year anniversary of in-store electronic payment

Source: Barclaycard

The ongoing growth of online and mobile shopping has led to the number of electronic transactions in the UK increasing at a rapid rate – a trend which shows no signs of slowing down.

Data from Barclaycard released today reveals that the payments company processed over 4.6 billion transactions in the UK last year - a 16 per cent jump on the 2014 figure*. Such is the rise in credit, debit and ecommerce spending that in the 10 years between 2004 and 2014 the amount spent by British shoppers climbed from £5.7 billion to over £12 billion**.

The news comes as Barclaycard marks 30 years since the first full scale deployment of electronic credit card payments after it installed its terminals in a Miss Selfridge store in Brent Cross Shopping Centre, London. The 1986 transaction, for a blue and white blouse was processed on Barclaycard’s Process Data Quickly (PDQ) terminal, the first of its kind and which helped shape the future of British commerce, delivering not only faster and more efficient payment in stores but paving the way for the online shopping revolution of the last 15-20 years.

The speed, ease and security of this new way to pay meant that merchants across the country quickly followed suit, with Barclaycard rolling out tens of thousands of terminals to bars, restaurants, petrol stations and virtually every retail sector by the turn of the 90s.

Today approximately one million PDQ terminals are in use across the UK, with almost 1.2 million businesses now accepting card payments***.

James McDonald, Director of Innovation and Strategic Initiatives, Barclaycard said:
“In 1986, when we first launched PDQ, the demand for payment innovation was driven by the merchants’ need for a more secure and more efficient way of taking card payments. Over the past 30 years, the payments process has transformed at a rapid rate, leading to the development of the quickest and most convenient payment methods we’ve ever seen, such as contactless and wearables.

“Looking ahead to the next three decades, we will continue to see payment innovation evolve as providers focus on putting customer experience at the heart of new innovation. While advances in mobile technology in particular will continue to improve in the immediate future, further down the line we could be heading towards a world where payment by finger print, or even by retina, eventually become the norm.”

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