The total value of plastic card payments received by UK merchants, retailers and service providers has more than trebled in the last ten years, according to a report launched today (3 July 2007) by Apacs, the UK payments association.
The Way We Pay 2007: UK Plastic Cards reveals that in 2006 payments were made to UK merchants, retailers and service providers totalling £321 billion using plastic cards, over three times the amount of ten years ago (£87 billion in 1996).
Debit cards accounted for 61 per cent of the plastic card spend (£195 billion and over five times that spent in 1996) and credit cards 39 per cent (£126 billion and over twice that spent in 1996).
In 2005, cards exceeded cash in all retail spending for the first time and the gap between cards and cash accelerated in 2006 with cash spending of £274 billion.
| ||UK consumer spending||2006||1996||% change|
| ||On plastic cards||£321bn||£87bn||+269%|
| ||On debit cards||£195bn||£37bn||+427%|
| ||On credit cards||£126bn||£50bn||+152%|
| ||Automated payments*||£272bn||£101bn||+169%|
The figure spent on cards equates to just under one third of total consumer spending in the UK, with the remaining £710 billion being made up of cash, automated payments and cheques.
Sandra Quinn, director of communications at APACS, said:
"The last ten years have seen a rapid rise in the popularity of plastic, with debit cards showing particularly strong growth. Consumers enjoy the ease and convenience plastic cards bring, and today most retailers and supermarkets take plastic, as do an increasing number of professional service providers.
"Over the next ten years it is expected that spending on plastic cards will continue to dominate the payments arena, accounting for 89 per cent of growth in UK payment volumes by 2016."
To coincide wite with the publication of The Way We Pay 2007: UK Plastic Cards report, APACS has launched a new, consumer-focused Plastic Card Fact Pack guide, which includes information about the different types of cards in issue in the UK and an explanation of their standard features. This guide is freely available to download from the Web site.
*Automated payments include direct debits, direct credits, other automated credits, standing orders and the same-day CHAPS service.