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Published: 18/01/2017

Many of us turn to plastic at the tills these days, particularly as contactless technology
makes it easier than ever before. You can now pay for your goods with just the tap of a card, so it's little wonder that card spending continues to ramp up – and it's debit card spending that's leading the way.

New figures from The UK Cards Association show that payment card spending grew by 1% in November to total £56bn – which also marks an increase of 3.9% year-on-year, up from £52.5bn in November 2015 – with £476m of that increase being from debit cards. Indeed, debit cards accounted for £40bn of card spending over the month, compared with credit card spending of £16bn, while annual debit card spending growth (4.6%) was double that of credit card spending (2.3%).

Much of the overall increase in card spending can be attributed to the start of Christmas shopping season, and here, online spending was a key driver. Indeed, £13.2bn was spent online during the month, including Black Friday and Cyber Monday – not only is this the highest online spending total seen since records began three years ago, but it represents 24% of total card spending in November.

Perhaps unsurprisingly given the time of year, retail sector card spending grew by £129m in November to £25.5bn, while spending on hobbies, toys and games and at department stores recorded the strongest monthly growth rates of 68% and 34% respectively, as the Christmas shopping rush took hold.

"November saw the strongest monthly growth in card spending in four months, with debit cards accounting for most of the increase at the start of the Christmas shopping season," said Richard Koch, Head of Policy at The UK Cards Association. "The record spend online highlights the importance of card payments in internet retail, and the wider economy too."

What next?

Spending on cards is all well and good, but what if you could get something back from your everyday purchases? Check out the top current accounts to see if you can find one that comes with cashback or rewards, or similarly, compare the top cashback credit cards to boost your balance as you spend.


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