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UK credit and debit cards - statistics & facts

In Britain, credit and debit cards have continued to grow in popularity as a means of payment. It has been forecasted that both credit and debit card purchases will continue to grow in the UK. In the case of credit cards, the card issuer (usually a bank) creates revolving credit accounts and grants a line of credit to the cardholder. Debit cards allow the holder to spend money using funds deposited with the card provider institution. In March 2020, the value of card purchases on debit cards reached over 52 billion British pounds, while credit card transactions accounted for 12.89 billion British pounds.

Contactless payment systems (based on near field communication - NFC - for secure mobile payments) were one of the major developments in terms of payment cards technology in recent years. The total number of contactless card transactions on the British market grew rapidly between June 2015 and March 2020, from 81.2 million to 683 million. As of the same month, the total number of contactless credit cards in the United Kingdom amounted to almost 52 million, whereas contactless debit cards were counted at approximately 85 million. A 2018 UK survey found that the majority of British consumers preferred to shop where contactless payments were accepted.

In the United Kingdom, cash is no longer king. Now card payments and e-wallet purchases are more commonplace than the traditional methods. In 2018, the two newer methods made up for almost 80 percent of purchases made. For online purchases, cash on delivery made up for less than five percent of transactions. With cash being used by consumers for less purchases, it makes sense that the number of cash withdrawals being made at ATM’s across the UK has fallen annually since 2012.

Interesting statistics

In the following 7 chapters, you will quickly find the 32 most important statistics relating to "Payment cards in the United Kingdom (UK)".


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