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Debit cards led the way in festive spending

UK Card Expenditure Statistics: December 2014

The growth in debit card spending continued to significantly outstrip that of credit cards in December 2014, according to the latest figures from The UK Cards Association.

Extending the trend seen over the last year, the figures indicate that consumers opted more for their debit card, rather than a credit card, in their Christmas and sales shopping. Debit card spending grew by 7.2 per cent year-on-year in December to £34.5 billion, while credit card spending grew far slower at 4.4 per cent to £14.6 billion.

The number of card transactions topped one billion for the fifth month in a row. Debit cards made up over three-quarters (77 per cent) of transactions with 806 million purchases, while credit cards were used for 244 million transactions.

Data published earlier this month showed that contactless payments jumped by 25.8 per cent between November and December up to £380.8m, highlighting the rise in the use of cards, instead of cash, for small payments.

Today’s figures also reveal consumer spending habits in the last few weeks before Christmas. The biggest increases in spending between November and December were all at retailers selling popular presents:

  • Spending at record shops jumped 173 per cent to £80.7m
  • Jewellers saw a 104 per cent increase in spending to £653m
  • Cosmetic stores and sweet shops both had 88 per cent increases in spending to £203.6m and £53.2m respectively.

Richard Koch, Head of Policy at The UK Cards Association, said:

"Driven by the rise in online spending and the switch away from cash, we’ve seen steady increases in cards spending over the last couple of years – but it’s clear that debit cards have been leading the way and December was no different. As Christmas grew close, the figures show that many turned to the classic presents with big jumps in spending on music, jewellery and cosmetics."

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