UK card spending tops £0.5 trillion in 2013

UK card spending tops £0.5 trillion in 2013

UK card spending has more than doubled over the last decade, topping half a trillion pounds last year, according to industry figures.

Brits spent £520 billion on goods and services using their debit and credit cards last year, a rise of 6.7% on 2012 and up from just £244 billion in 2003, a new report from the UK Cards Association shows.

Nearly three quarters of all retail spending is now made using plastic, up from less than half in 2003, as people continue to turn away from cash and cheques.

There are now 95.7 million debit cards in issue in the UK, up 5.1% on 2012. In contrast, the number of credit cards fell 1.9% to 55.4 million. Outstanding borrowing on credit cards now accounts for just four per cent of the UK's total personal borrowing.

The average debit card was used to make 94 purchases worth a total of £4000 in 2013. In total, debit cards were used for 8.4 billion purchases, worth £378 billion.

The new figures chime with a report earlier this week from the British Retail Consortium which revealed that there has been a 14% decline in the use of cash in the last five years as customers switch to debit cards.

The UK Cards Association predicts that by 2023 the total value of card payments will hit £874 billion. The number of payments is also expected to soar as people increasingly shop online and use contactless cards, rather than cash, for low value purchases. Another factor will be the rise of mPOS technology, which will make it easier for small businesses to accept plastic.

Melanie Johnson, chair, UK Cards Association, says: "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."

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