During 2016, consumers in the U.K. spent £647 billion with payment cards, according to new data from the U.K. Cards Association.
In a press release, the U.K. Cards Association said there were 14.8 billion card transactions in 2016, which is equal to 40.5 million transactions per day, or 469 a second. What’s more, three quarters of retail spending, or 76.4 percent, was made with payment cards. Retail spending on cards last year was £298 billion, compared to £290 billion in 2015. The trade group noted a majority of spending in the U.K. in 2016 was with debit cards, which represented £461 billion of spending, with total card spending in 2015 coming in at £620 billion.
In the case of contactless payments, the U.K. Cards Association found in 2016 that there was £25 billion of spending, compared to £7.75 billion in 2015, with 2.9 billion contactless transactions made. In January 2016, one in seven card payments were made using contactless, compared to one in four in November, the group said.
“Cards are the preferred way to pay for millions of consumers and underpin the retail economy,” said Graham Peacop, chief executive of the U.K. Cards Association. “Contactless cards are increasingly becoming the payment method of choice for everyday, low-value purchases, with a quarter of card payments now contactless.”
The U.K. Card Association also found that the sectors with the highest spending in 2016 was food and drink. The spending in those two categories came in at £114 billion last year, which amounts to an average of £9.5 billion per month.