Card spending

Card Spending covers the monthly value and volume of transactions across debit and credit cards, both in the UK, and of UK-issued cards across the world. This data also covers outstanding balances on credit cards, card issuance and contactless payments.

Key data highlights

Updated 18 May 2022

Annual data comparisons are impacted by the reduction of spending due to various lockdown restrictions and the economy re-opening, resulting in large percentage variations when compared to 2021. Comparisons with February 2020 have therefore been included below to provide additional context.

Card transactions by UK cardholders both in the UK and overseas:

  • There were 1.7 billion debit card transactions in February, 32.9 per cent more than in February 2021 and 15.1 per cent more than February 2020. The total spend of £54.5 billion was 11 per cent higher than February 2021 and 5.4 per cent higher than February 2020.

  • There were 284.1 million credit card transactions in February, 40.1 per cent more than in February 2021 and 2.8 per cent more than February 2020. The total spend of £15.8 billion was 43.8 per cent higher than February 2021 and 0.7 per cent higher than in February 2020.

  • Outstanding balances on credit card accounts have grown by 6.5 per cent over the twelve months to February.

Card transactions made in the UK by cardholders from both the UK and from overseas countries:

  • There were 1.7 billion debit and credit card transactions in the UK in February, 40.5 per cent more than in February 2021 and 10.5 per cent more than February 2020. The total spend of £62.9 billion was 20.4 per cent higher than February 2021 and 14.4 per cent higher than February 2020.

  • Contactless payments accounted for 57 per cent of all credit card and 71 per cent of all debit card transactions.

  • There were 1.2 billion contactless card transactions in February, 76.3 per cent more than the 668 million in February 2021 and 32.4 per cent more than the 889 million in February 2020. The total value of contactless transactions was £16.7 billion in February, a 102.6 per cent increase on £8.3 billion in February 2021 and 99.1 per cent increase on £8.4 billion in February 2020.

  • The number of contactless credit card transactions was 109.4 per cent higher than February 2021 and 23.3 per cent higher than February 2020. The number of contactless debit card transactions was 72.1 per cent higher than February 2021 and 33.9 per cent higher than February 2020.