Britain spent record-breaking amount on debit and credit cards in 2006

03 July 2007
Plastic card payments have more than trebled in the last 10 years, with 2006 culminating in a record-spending year, according to a report by the UK payments association, APACS.

The report, entitled The Way We Pay 2007: UK Plastic Cards, reveals that cards now account for just under a third of all UK consumer spending, with £321 billion paid via plastic to UK merchants, retailers and service providers in 2006, compared to £87 billion in 1996.

Of the total, £195 billion was spent using debit cards (more than five times as much as in 1996), and credit cards account for £126 billion (more than twice as much as 1996).

Cards exceeded cash as the prominent method of spending for the first time in 2005, and the gap widened further last year, with cash spending at £274 billion.

Sandra Quinn, director of communications at APACS, commented on the rise of plastic popularity, and predicts even bigger rises in the future: “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.”

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