Debit card use outstrips cash for first time in UK

Debit card use outstrips cash for first time in UK

Debit card spending in retail outlets exceeded cash spending for the first time ever in the UK last year, according to stats from payments association Apacs.

The figures, which cover all online and offline retail transactions in 2005, show debit card spending at 37% (£89bn) of the total £240bn spent, against cash at 34% (£81bn).

This shows retail debit card use up nine per cent on 2004 figures, while cash retail spending fell four per cent.

Apacs says the combined retail figures of spending on both credit and debit cards show a continued increase in plastic card use, which accounted for 63% of all retail spending in 2005, up from 60% in 2004.

Personal spending on debit and credit cards overtook cash for the first time in 2004 and this change was mainly driven by debit card use.

Sandra Quinn, director of communications at Apacs says the 2005 figures show that this trend is continuing with debit card spending in retail outlets crashing through the cash barrier for the first time ever. One of the reasons behind this continuing trend is that more businesses are now accepting cards as payment.

But Quinn adds: "It is clear that there are certain situations when we tend to use a credit card rather than a debit card – for bigger items and when buying online or overseas. Consumers welcome the convenience and security credit cards bring."

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