Posted August 07, 2023 by FreedomPay

Cash vs Card: Which is King?

How businesses can get ahead in an evolving payments landscape and unleash the power of pay .

By Kevin Carson, Senior Vice President, FreedomPay

Cash vs card is a topic that has been around for years. and it doesn’t appear to be going away anytime soon. The great debate continues, with proponents of both payment methods weighing in. Cash witnessed a resurgence post-pandemic as public health fears allayed, but how is it faring now?

Data suggests the cash comeback has waned, especially as more Gen Z’ers open their first bank account. In a recent report. FreedomPay found that 92% of guests used credit cards, followed by digital wallets, debit cards and QR codes. This couldn’t be more relevant to the hospitality industry, which,  after a difficult few years, has started to find its feet again. And it’s especially true for pubs and restaurants. as well as the unattended food and drink sector. where cash acceptance is in rapid decline. 

As customer loyalty becomes harder to acquire, businesses with­in the industry need to get on top of increasing card usage to get ahead. With that in mind. here are the steps they can take to ensure success: 


There is no indication that cash will be returning as the preferred way to pay. It was already in decline pre-­COVID and findings by Which? show that around 8.000 cash machines were switched off during the pandemic with no sign of being replaced. Cash’s decline has been so severe in fact that earlier this year, Parliament debated whether to make it illegal for retailers to refuse cash payments. 

While cash does still have its place in society (it remains the payment of choice for some customers), in the current environment, offering a plurality of payment options is essential — otherwise. you’ll be left behind. 


It’s no secret that customers nowadays expect the very best,  and that includes catering to a varying range of wants and needs when it comes to payments. From BNPL to QR codes. as well as Apple Pay. Google Pay and prepaid cards, offering customers the choice of how they’d like to pay in a sea of seemingly endless options can give your business a competitive edge. 

Making sure you are equipped with the tools to meet the ever-growing demands of today’s (and tomorrow’s) customers will drive loyalty. steadying the ship in an increasingly volatile market. By upgrading your PMS and POS systems’ capabilities to offer more options, business intelligence can be enhanced. These new data sys­tems securely aggregate transactions and consumer insights and facilitate effective personalisation of the cus­tomer journey. This could mean. for example. that customers-when dining out or making a supermarket purchase-are offered deals, discounts and replacements for products that are aligned with their preferences. At the end of the day, a customer who feels understood will keep coming back. 

The demand for card payments highlights the need for hospitality merchants to invest in their tech capabili­ties. A lack of options is simply not feasible in a world ruled by fast, personalised payments. Presenting a vari­ety of payment choices contributes to a positive, personalised customer experience, a seamless purchasing journey and better business for you. 


Finding success in a new era of payments can only be achieved by partnering with a platform that can help businesses unleash the power of pay and provide the kind of hyper-personalised hospitality experience that is so coveted by cuscomers – one that utilises the latest technologies such as tokenisation and biometric authen­tication, as well as adapting existing payment infrastructure, both in-store and online. 

The speed at which the payments landscape is evolving makes this all the more important. For hospitality to flourish as it did pre-pandemic, a single ‘open’, fully agnostic and flexible platform will enable you to go above and beyond in delivering a top-tier payments journey and ensure repeat business. 

While its use did increase after the height of the pandemic, cash’s time is nearly over. So, the question is: are you ready to embrace the card revolution? 



View the original publication here