UK debit cards surpass 100 million mark

The number of debit cards in the UK has reached over 100 million for the first time, according to the latest figures released by the UK Card

UK debit cards surpass 100 million mark

In April 2016, debit card circulation rose 2.7% to 100.3 million compared to 97.6 million in the same month prior year. The 50 million card mark was passed in February 2001.

Debit card spending surged 6.8% year-on-year to £37.8bn during the month.

Consumers opening new bank accounts routinely receive debit cards as standard. The number of ATM-only cards has been falling substantially in recent years, while cheque guarantee-only cards ended with the closure of the scheme in 2011.

About 61.8 million debit cards now include contactless technology.

The UK Cards Association head of policy Richard Koch said: “Since they were first launched in the UK in June 1987, debit cards have become a prime feature in the nation’s wallets. Now, almost 30 years later, more than half of all retail sales in the UK are made using a debit card.

“More recently, it has been the growth of contactless, as well as the increasing use of debit cards for online shopping, that has been driving the changes.”