UK credit and debit cards - Statistics & Facts

In Britain, credit and debit cards grew in popularity in recent years as a means of payment. It was forecasted that by 2026, approximately 60 million card transactions daily will take place 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 October 2017, the value of purchase transactions on debit cards reached 40.8 billion British pounds, while credit card transactions accounted for 16.77 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 June 2017, from 81.2 million to 469.6 million. As of June 2017, the total number of contactless credit cards in the United Kingdom amounted to nearly 36.6 million, whereas contactless debit cards were counted at approximately 27.4 million. However, over 50 percent of British adults surveyed in 2015 reported a lack of familiarity with such payments.

When choosing a payment card, the decision to opt for a particular card provider was not simple. In a survey conducted in 2015, respondents reported various criteria, such as reward programs, offers on balance transfers and lower fees as the main reasons for choosing a credit card. In Europe, the leading credit card brands were Visa (at 66 percent market share in terms of purchase volume) and MasterCard (31 percent market share) as of 2016. The most popular debit card brands in the United Kingdom as of November 2015 were Visa Debit and Debit Mastercard, at 96.4 million cards on the market.



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