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Spenders ditch cash in favour of cards

Spenders ditch cash in favour of cards

Category: Credit cards

Updated: 04/04/2016
First Published: 04/04/2016

This article was correct at the time of publication. It is now over 6 months old so the content may be out of date.

At one time we all carried a bit of spare change to cover smaller purchases, but it seems that this tradition is gradually being eroded thanks to the convenience and speed of card transactions. As a result, the average spend made by a card has dropped to its lowest in 14 years.

The triumph of plastic

According to The UK Cards Association, the average card payment has fallen below £45 for the first time since 2002 thanks to greater numbers of customers fishing out their debit and credit cards in order to pay for less expensive items. Indeed, over the year to January 2016, the number of card purchases has risen by an impressive 11.3%, while the average value has dropped by £2.60.

It's thought that the growing popularity of contactless payments are helping to fuel the trend: in January, contactless card payments accounted for 11.6% of all card purchases made in the month, a staggering rise from a year ago, when they counted for just 4.1% of all card payments. Contactless payments can be made for purchases of up to £30 at a time, which means that as more and more people opt for the ease of paying by card, the average card payment is likely to continue to fall.

"There has been a dramatic drop in the average value of card transactions in recent years," commented Richard Koch, head of policy at The UK Cards Association. "We are increasingly making lower-value internet purchases for digital content and subscriptions and now one in seven card transactions are made using contactless cards. [As a result,] this is a trend that we expect to continue."

Have you tried contactless cards?

Contactless cards can make paying for less expensive items at the till much quicker and easier. So, have you jumped on the bandwagon yet?

If not, the first thing you need to do is check to see whether your card has been enabled for contactless spending. Not all providers will offer this service, so you may need to do some research and find a new current account provider. You can start your search by looking at our current account best buys. Once you have the necessary card, you can start spending! You can use your card for purchases of up to £30 – however, not all shops, cafes and restaurants will have a contactless reader, so ask if you are unsure. If all is good to go, simply tap your card over the card reader and your payment will go straight through. It really is as easy as that!

What next?

Find a new current account to suit you

Disclaimer: Information is correct as of the date of publication (shown at the top of this article). Any products featured may be withdrawn by their provider or changed at any time.