Record proportion of debit card payments in August were contactless

  • The number of contactless debit card payments reached their highest level in August, accounting for 62 per cent of all debit card transactions.
  • The total number of contactless credit and debit card transactions rose by 7 per cent compared to July as lockdown restrictions continued to ease and consumers took advantage of the £45 contactless spending limit.
  • Overall volume of debit and credit card spending in the UK fell slightly in August, with 1.3 per cent fewer transactions than in July and 27.7 per cent fewer than in August 2019.
  • The annual growth rate of outstanding balances on credit cards contracted again in August, dropping by 12.6 per cent as consumer repayments continued to outstrip new lending.

Data published today by UK Finance reveals that contactless payments by debit card reached record levels in August, accounting for 62 per cent of all debit card transactions. Just under half (45 per cent) of all credit card transactions were contactless, with the number of contactless credit card transactions in August increasing 14.6 per cent compared to the previous month.

As lockdown restrictions continued to ease and the government launched its ?Eat Out to Help Out? scheme, many consumers continued to take advantage of the £45 contactless spending limit, with the total number of all contactless card transactions in August increasing by 7 per cent compared to July, representing a total spend of £8.2 billion. This was a 3.1 per cent increase from July and a 19.3 per cent increase since last August.

Overall, there were 1.2 billion debit and credit card transactions in the UK in August, 1.3 per cent fewer than the previous month 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 July, and 14 per cent less than last August.

The value of transactions made by UK debit cardholders remained strong, with total spending on debit cards amounting to £58.4 billion - 1.2 per cent below the record total value seen last month, but 12.5 per cent higher than August 2019.

August also saw the UK's annual growth rate of outstanding balances on credit cards continue to decline, falling 12.6 per cent over the twelve months to August as a result of repayments outstripping new borrowing in the year.

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.

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Notes to editor

<ol><li>For more information please call the UK Finance Press Office on 020 7416 6750 or e-mail <a href="mailto:press@ukfinance.org.uk">press@ukfinance.org.uk</a>.</li&gt;
<li>UK Finance is the collective voice for the banking and finance industry. Representing more than 250 firms across the industry, we act to enhance competitiveness, support customers and facilitate innovation.</li>
<li>Full data tables are available <a href="https://eur01.safelinks.protection.outlook.com/?url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.u…;
<li>The banking and finance industry has put in place a clear plan to help Britain through the Covid-19 crisis: </li>
</ol><ul><li>Two and a half million <a href="https://eur01.safelinks.protection.outlook.com/?url=https%3A%2F%2F74n5c… payment deferrals</a></li>
<li><a href="https://eur01.safelinks.protection.outlook.com/?url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.u… million interest-free overdrafts</a> offered, 1.13 payment deferrals on credit cards and over 793,000 payment deferrals on personal loans.</li>
<li>£57.3 billion of lending to over 1.4 million businesses through government Covid-19 lending schemes</li>
<li>Protecting customers from <a href="https://eur01.safelinks.protection.outlook.com/?url=https%3A%2F%2F74n5c… and fraud</a></li>
</ul><p>Higher limit for<a href="https://eur01.safelinks.protection.outlook.com/?url=https%3A%2F%2F74n5c…; contactless payments</a></p>
<p>5. Please note that data on UK cardholders is different to data on card activity in the UK. Data on UK cardholders refers to transactions made either inside the UK or overseas on cards issued to UK residents and reported by card issuers. Data on card activity in the UK refers to transactions made in the UK only, both on UK-issued cards and cards issued overseas, this data is provided by acquirers.<br />
6. A summary of our annual UK Payment Markets 2020 Report containing detailed analysis of the use of all types of payments in the UK, can be found here: <a href="https://eur01.safelinks.protection.outlook.com/?url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.u… />
7. The quarterly Household Finance Review containing analysis and economic commentary on household finance in the UK, can be found here: <a href="https://eur01.safelinks.protection.outlook.com/?url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.u… />
8. The monthly credit card data has been re-stated back to January 2019 to increase our market coverage to 97 per cent providing a more representative picture of the credit card market.</p>

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