Consumers continue to go contactless and spend online

UK consumers spent over £19,000 every second using their cards last year as the number of purchases surged by more than a tenth, according to a report, UK Card Payments 2015, published by The UK Cards Association.

Total UK-issued debit, credit and charge card spending both domestically and overseas rose by 8.2% in 2014 to reach a record £600.3 billion. The number of purchases increased at the even faster rate of 12.1%, to 12.96 billion, as consumers made many more lower value card transactions. The trend highlights the increasing shift from cash to card payments, driven partly by the growing acceptance and usage of contactless cards.

Debit cards are the most common payment cards in consumers’ wallets, with around 91% of adults – or 48.5 million people – holding at least one. The average debit card holder has two cards (1.97). Young people lead the way, with 94 % of 16-24 year olds having a debit card.

On average, each debit card was used to make 106 purchases in 2014, spending just over £4,500 per card, up 10% on 2013. Half of debit card holders say they use their card several times a week, with eight in ten using theirs at least once a month.

Just over 31 million people hold a credit card, about 60% of the UK adult population. Older people are more likely to hold a credit card, with around three fifths of card holders in the UK aged over 45. Seven in ten people who earn over £50,000 have a credit card; compared to less than a quarter of those with an income under £10,000 a year.

In total, there are now just over 159 million payment cards in circulation in the UK, a rise of 1.1% on 2013, made up of 95.7 million debit cards, 56.9 million credit cards and 6.4 million charge cards. There are also an additional 19.9 million ATM-only cards.