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£19,000 a second spent using cards


A record £600.3 billion was spent last year domestically and overseas using UK-issued debit, credit and charge cards

A record £600.3 billion was spent last year domestically and overseas using UK-issued debit, credit and charge cards

A record £600.3 billion was spent last year domestically and overseas using UK-issued debit, credit and charge cards

Consumers across the UK collectively spent more than £19,000 every second using their cards last year, according to an industry trade body.

A record £600.3 billion was spent domestically and overseas using UK-issued debit, credit and charge cards, marking an 8.2% increase on the previous year, the UK Cards Association said.

Some 31.6 million card payments were made every day in the UK last year, more than double the 15.7 million a day in 2004.

By 2024, 52.5 million card payments are expected to be made each day, as the younger generation continues to embrace new technologies such as contactless and mobile payments, the report said.

The rapid take-up of "tap and go" contactless payments for low value items instead of using cash and the popularity of online shopping have helped to boost the 2014 figures, according to the association's annual UK Card Payments report.

Richard Koch, head of policy at the UK Cards Association, said: "Consumers are making more than twice as many card payments every day than they were 10 years ago, a clear sign of how people are now choosing to use the cards in their wallet rather than cash.

"With more places now accepting cards, contactless payments and the rise in online shopping, the large jump in card spending we saw last year looks set to continue."

Overall, £3 in every £4 spent at UK retailers last year was on a debit or credit card.

More than nine in 10 (91%) adults across the country, or 48.5 million people, hold at least one debit card. Six in 10, or just over 31 million people, hold a credit card.

Younger people are more likely than the population generally to have a debit card, while older people are more likely to own a credit card.

Some 94% of people aged between 16 and 24 have a debit card, while three-fifths of credit card holders are over 45.

Online shopping accounts for £21 in every £100 spent on cards at UK retailers, the association said. On "cyber Monday" in December last year, more than 25 million people shopped online.

Meanwhile, 2014 saw a "rapid growth" in contactless card use, the report said, with £2.32 billion of spending. More contactless transactions took place during the first nine months of the year than the previous six years combined.

A launch of contactless payments on Transport for London (TfL) services last September has had a major impact, with more than one in 10 (11%) contactless transactions in December made on London transport, the association said.

The current limit for a single contactless transaction is £20, but from September 1 a higher limit of £30 will be introduced.

More than a third (36%) of cards in issue were contactless by the end of 2014, the report said.

Contactless card payments, where a payment can be made with a single swipe of the card rather than having to enter a number, are also accepted in places including Aldi, Barnardo's, Boots, Greggs, Ikea, JD Wetherspoon, M6 Toll and Marks & Spencer.

The average value generally of a debit card purchase last year was £43.45, while the average value of a contactless payment in December was £8.26.

The typical value of a credit card purchase last year was £59.88. The association said 80% of credit and charge card spending was by people who paid off their card in full at the end of the month.

The report said people are often more willing to use credit cards when they are confident about their financial futures.

If the economy continues to improve, credit card borrowing would be expected to increase, it said, as consumers make purchases they may have put off during the period of economic uncertainty. Such purchases could include household goods and foreign travel.

The Payments Council recently released figures showing that cashless payments have become more popular than transactions using coins and notes for the first time.

During 2014, 48% of payments made by consumers, businesses and financial organisations were in cash, down from just over half (52%) in 2013, the Payments Council said.

The growth of contactless card use as a handy way to pay was given as one of the factors behind the falling figure for cash.

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