Belfast Telegraph

Shoppers using plastic cards rather than cash

By Simon Read

Spending on plastic cards topped £0.5trn 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 this month reveals that we spent £520bn on UK goods and services using their debit and credit cards last year – a rise of 6.7% 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% 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. And around 38% 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.

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