UK card spending continues to soar

UK card spending continues to soar

Britain's love affair with plastic continues to grow, with rising online and contactless transactions driving spending on debit and credit cards up 10% to £660 billion in 2015.

Card spending online was up 20%, to £210 billion from £175 billion in 2014, meaning that almost a third of plastic spending now takes place via the internet, figures from the UK Cards Association show. And by the end of 2015 half of online spending took place on tablets and smartphones, up from 37% in 2014.

Meanwhile, with nearly half off all cards in issue now having contactless capabilities, £7.75 billion was spent via tap and pay, compared to £2.32 billion in 2014. The huge rise is in part down to the increase in the payment limit to £30 and the growth of contactless transport ticketing.

Graham Peacop, chief executive, UK Cards Association, says: "With the amount spent using contactless cards almost trebling between 2014 and 2015 and the payment limit increasing to £30, it is clear 2015 was the year contactless went mainstream. Whether buying a sandwich on the go, or paying for a round of drinks or a tube journey, contactless has become the default way people choose to pay for every day shopping."

Supermarkets were the most popular destination for shoppers last year, which saw spending of £102 billion, equivalent to one in every seven pounds spent on cards. Food and drink was the most common category for card payments, representing a third of all purchases. The entertainment sector accounted for 15% of purchases and saw a 20% growth in the number of payments, with 26% more plastic transactions in restaurants.

Looking ahead, the association estimates that debit cards will be used for 21 billion payments in the UK, worth £856 billion, by 2025, with younger people more likely to embrace new technologies such as mobile payments, and to contribute to the growth of e-commerce.

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