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'Plastic' spending set to double

Credit and debit card spending will almost double over the next decade as people increasingly rely on their plastic as a convenient way to pay, an industry report predicts.

However, the UK Cards Association also said in the longer-term it is also possible to see the "end of the road" for plastic as other methods such as mobile phone payments gain more popularity.

Total spending on cards in the UK is set to soar from 9.9 billion payments worth £477 billion last year to 17.3 billion payments with a value of £840 billion in 2022, according to the trade body's forecasts.

The association said that in the coming years, most of the growth will come from debit cards, which were first introduced 26 years ago.

Nine in 10 (91%) UK adults have a debit card in their wallet or purse, equating to almost 47 million debit card holders across the country. The number of debit card holders grew by around one million compared with 2011, which is in line with growth seen over the last decade.

Innovations in technology which make card use more convenient will drive the upswing, helped by younger people who have grown up with cards and already in a strong habit of using them, the report said.

This includes the expansion of "tap and go" contactless payment technology for low-value items where people have traditionally used cash.

Contactless payments allow people to pay for goods worth £20 or less with a single swipe of their card on a reader, without consumers having to key in a pin number.

The number of debit and credit cards enabled to make contactless payments grew by 38% in 2012 to reach an estimated 31 million and major chains such as Superdrug, WH Smith, Marks & Spencer and Greggs as well as the Post Office now accept contactless payments.

By March this year, around 120 contactless transactions were being made per minute. This figure is predicted to rise to 300 transactions a minute by the end of 2013.


From Belfast Telegraph