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 17 November 2020):

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

  • There were 1.6 billion debit card transactions in August, 3.9 per cent more than in July and 2.5 per cent more than in August last year. The total spend of £58.4 billion was 1.2 per cent less than in July but 12.5 per cent higher than last August.
  • There were 273 million credit card transactions in August, 4.7 per cent more than in July but 10 per cent fewer than in August last year.  The total spend of £13.8 billion was 1.2 per cent less than in July and 18.4 per cent less than last August.
  • Outstanding balances on credit card accounts have contracted by 12.6 per cent over the twelve months to August, as a result of repayments outstripping new borrowing in the year.

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

  • There were 1.2 billion debit and credit card transactions in the UK in August, 1.3 per cent fewer than in July and 27.7 per cent fewer than in August last year. The total spend of £51.6 billion was 3.8 per cent less than the previous month and 14 per cent less than last August.
  • Contactless payments accounted for 45 per cent of all credit card and 62 per cent of all debit card transactions.
  • There were 709 million contactless card transactions in August, 7 per cent more than in July but 2.3 per cent less than the 726 million last August.  The total value of contactless transactions was £8.2 billion in August, a 3.1 per cent increase from July and a 19.3 per cent increase on £6.9 billion last August. 
  • The number of contactless credit card transactions was 14.6 per cent higher than in July but 17.2 per cent lower than last August.  The number of contactless debit card transactions was 5.9 per cent higher than July and 0.4 per cent higher than last August.

Eric Leenders, Managing Director of Personal Finance, UK Finance, said: 

As lockdown restrictions continued to be eased in August, we saw record numbers of customers choosing to make contactless payments using debit cards. Contactless card transactions using either debit or credit cards also increased compared to July, suggesting that consumers are taking advantage of the £45 contactless spending limit. 

“Meanwhile, the amount of spending on UK debit cards fell slightly in August following a record high in July but remained strong at £58.4 billion.

“The percentage of credit card balances attracting interest and the annual growth rate of outstanding balances on credit cards continued to decline – the latter dropping by 12.6 per cent over the twelve months to August.

LATEST DATA:

Card Spending Update - August 2020

Card Spending Update (PDF)

Total Market Data - Credit Card Statistics

UK Finance members only