Small businesses in Norfolk are being forced to hand over thousands in expensive transaction fees every year, as record numbers of us ditch cash in favour of card payments. 

For some businesses, the trend is making it hard to maintain their bottom line, with some merchants being charged up to 6pc on payments made by card.

But with card payments now accounting for 90pc of all UK transactions, business owners like Paula Colman, who owns Colmans farm shop, near Great Yarmouth, say they feel “caught between a rock and a hard place”.

Eastern Daily Press: Paula Colman, co-owner of Colmans farm shop, said card fees are cripplingPaula Colman, co-owner of Colmans farm shop, said card fees are crippling (Image: Submitted)

She said: “Introducing a card machine was one of the biggest adaptations we’ve had to make here. 

“It eats into our profits hugely because some of those fees are crippling, but if we didn’t offer card payments, we’d be turning away too much business.

“We do ask people to pay in cash, but most people don’t even carry it anymore.”

READ MORE: Meet the Norfolk businesses bucking the growing cashless trend

Although it has been happening for several years, the switch from cash to card accelerated in 2020, when the pandemic put more people off touching coins and notes. 

Eastern Daily Press: Graph by UK Finance showing transaction types year by yearGraph by UK Finance showing transaction types year by year (Image: UK Finance)

And while the number of people using cash has slightly increased since then, Mrs Colman said it hasn’t been enough to make up the difference - especially on purchases they have had to buy in from external producers. 

She said: “In recent years we’ve expanded our offering beyond just the stuff we grow to things we buy wholesale.

“When people then buy those things with a card it makes it a lot harder to meet your mark-up - to the point where you wonder if it's worth it because you’ve made so little profit on it.

“It would be great if we could just say to people you need to pay with cash, but the way the world is now, you can’t.

“But for a business like us, cash is always preferred.”