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By Kevin Jenkins, Managing Director UK & Ireland • Visa

For almost two hundred years, Britain has been called “a nation of shopkeepers”. Today Brits are just as keen to break out on their own as they were in the 1800s, many using the latest technologies to be their own boss, differentiate in a crowded market place and delight their customers.

Today marks an important milestone, especially for small merchants in the UK. New technology introduced in the UK by Square, the payments company founded by Jack Dorsey, allows merchants to leave behind the inefficiencies of cash to accept card and contactless payments. Using a mobile phone connected to a Square device, merchants are able to accept contactless card and mobile payments.

At Visa, we applaud the launch of new technology that makes it easier for even the smallest of merchants to accept electronic payments and take advantage of the security, speed and convenience of accepting Visa. This is especially true today when consumers are far less inclined to carry cash, and more likely to pay with a card or phone.

In the UK, sixty percent of consumer expenditures are made with cards and payment enabled mobile devices. The notable exceptions are consumer purchases at small merchants, such as flower stalls, food vendors, or coffee shops. In fact, a study commissioned by Visa shows that merchants lose up to 25% of their footfall when they are unable to accept electronic forms of payments .

This is why so many small businesses have adopted mobile point of sale (mPOS) solutions, like Square. In the last year alone, mobile point of sale adoption by businesses in Europe has increased by more than 500%. And we know that consumers feel safe and secure shopping at merchants enabled with the new technology – the average transaction value at mPOS merchants is more than €40 , demonstrating that consumers are comfortable using them for more than small purchases.

So, the next time you go to your favourite coffee shop or boutique, don’t be surprised when the shop keeper uses a phone or tablet to process your card or mobile payment. This nation of merchants knows how to keep up with the times.