UK spending on cards has more than doubled in the last decade, hitting half a trillion pounds in 2014, thanks to the rise of online shopping, contactless and booming plastic use in pubs and restaurants.
According to figures from the UK Cards Association, card spending has risen from just £270 billion in 2005 to £566 billion, while the number of payments has also doubled, to 12 billion. Debit now accounts for 71% of card spending, with 48.5 million people now owning debit cards, up from 40.8 million 10 years earlier.
Contactless has also seen its popularity soar, accounting for £2.6 billion in spending on the first half of this year. The new technology has helped plastic muscle out cash in its strongholds - card spending in pubs reached almost £5 billion last year, up from just £1 billion in 2005, while restaurants also saw a significant increase, from £8.6 billion to £22.2 billion.
The data also highlights other changes in the way Brits shop: there has been a 71% decline in spending at record shops and 49% drop at video stores as consumers move to online streaming services. There were 1.3 billion online transactions in 2014, amounting to £119 billion, and around a quarter of these are now at entertainment sites.
Supermarket card spending has almost doubled from £51.2 billion in 2005 to £99.5 billion in 2014. At the same time, the average transaction has fallen from £31 to £25 as Brits swap the weekly shop for more frequent, more local visits.
Richard Koch, head of policy, UK Cards Association, says: "Today we think nothing of paying for a coffee and a sandwich with a contactless payment card or streaming films on a smartphone which is also enabled for mobile payments. This is so different to a decade ago when we carried more cash and shopped in high street stores...Cards are accepted in more places than ever before and with innovations such as contactless cards and digital wallets, this trend is sure to continue."