More than half a trillion spent on credit and debit cards in 2013

 

Personal Finance Editor

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 today 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 175.6m plastic cards in issue in the UK: 95.7m debit cards, 55.4m credit cards, 18.2m ATM-only cards, and 6.3m charge cards.

The annual value of card payments is expected to climb to around £874bn by 2023. Plastic card usage will be boosted by young adults who have grown up with debit cards, as well as the growth in technology such as contactless payments and the rise in internet shopping, which often involves payments being made by debit card.

Steve Perry of Visa Europe, said: “Consumers have a love affair with cashless shopping that is only going to continue to grow. Shoppers today have more ways to pay than ever - whether it's a contactless card, a digital wallet, or a mobile payment app.

“The biggest blow for cash will be convergence of these exciting new trends. Ultimately they offer the potential to combine convenience (any payment, anytime, anywhere) with security and consumer choice. With all of that in your pocket, why carry loose change?”

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