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Loans & Credit

Plastic card usage trumps cash payments


Spending on plastic cards topped £0.5trillion for the first time last year, as shoppers moved further away from cash.

Debit and credit cards were used for three in every four pounds spent in shops in 2013 – up from two in every four just a decade ago.

The UK Card Payments 2014 report published yesterday reveals that Britons spent £520bn on UK goods and services using their debit and credit cards last year – a rise of 6.7 per cent since 2012.

Card spending has more than doubled over the last decade, climbing from £244bn in 2003.

Debit cards can now be found in the wallets of 91 per cent of UK adults, while the average transaction value for all debit card purchases in 2013 stood at £44.02.

The average debit card was used to make 94 purchases in 2013. Meanwhile around 38 per cent of debit card holders own two or more cards.

Melanie Johnson, Chair of The UK Cards Association, said: "With three in every four pounds spent in British shops now paid with cards, these figures reveal a huge shift over the last decade in the way we chose to transact. Rather than carrying cash, consumers are increasingly opting for their cards instead; not least because of the extra protections available.

"The rise in online shopping, coupled with increasing momentum behind contactless cards, will likely see this trend in consumer behaviour continue."

There are now 175.6 million plastic cards in issue in the UK: 95.7 million debit cards, 55.4 milli0n credit cards, 18.2 million ATM-only cards, and 6.3 million charge cards.

The annual value of card payments is expected to climb to around £874bn by 2023.