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UK credit and debit card statistics

By Marianne Curphey

Updated: 30 January 2015

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This page contains consumer credit and debt statistics -- including statistics on credit card debt, credit card delinquencies, credit scores, credit card interest rates, debit cards, prepaid cards, bankruptcies and more -- compiled by a research team. Statistics on this page will be updated periodically. 


Card ownership and use
The UK is the biggest card payments market in the European Union, accounting for more than 30% of all EU card spending, and 73% of the EU credit card market. 1

The estimated daily value of all purchases made using plastic cards in December 2014 was £1.469bn. 8

Domestic spending on all payment cards accounted for 33% of UK gross domestic product (GDP) during 2012. 1

75% of all spending in the UK retail sector was made using plastic cards at the end of November 2013. 1

Payment card spending amounted to £141.9bn during Q3 2014, representing an annual growth rate of 6.6%. 2

In November 2014, the average transaction value (ATV) on all payment cards was £46.75. 3

A persistent decline in ATVs between February 2013 and November 2014 (from approximately £50 in November 2011 to £46.75 in November 2014) is likely a reflection of the continuing migration of low value cash payments to cards, alongside the increasing use of contactless cards. The initiative by Transport for London to accept contactless cards on rail and tube services is also contributing to this trend. 3

In November 2014, the ATV for credit cards was £58.81. 3

In the credit card market, there were 2.5bn purchases in 2014, 8% more than in 2013. 24

58m credit and charge cards were in circulation in the UK in February 2014. Of those, 66% were active (have an outstanding balance). 4

The total value of credit and charge card purchases in Q3 of 2014 was £41.2bn; credit and charge card purchases saw an annual growth rate of 4%. 2

90.5m debit cards were in circulation in the UK at the end of November 2013. 1

The total value of all debit card purchases in Q3 of 2014 was £100.8bn; debit card purchases saw an annual growth rate of 7.8%. 2

Debit card purchases accounted for 2.3bn of the total 3bn card purchases made in Q3 of 2014. 2

In November 2014, the ATV for debit cards was £43.12. 3


Contactless Cards
In 2013, there were 39m contactless cards in circulation, and 94m contactless card transactions, accounting for about £609m worth of total spending by cardholders. 1

As of November 2014, 55.9m contactless cards had been issued. These cards are split between debit (35.3m) and credit and charge cards (20.5m). 14

In November 2014, contactless cards (debit, credit and charge cards) accounted for £302.70m of spending. This is an increase of 1.9% on the previous month and 275.5% over the year. On average, each contactless transaction was for £7.59. 14


Debt (credit card, total consumer)
People in the UK owed £1.463tn in total personal debt at the end of November 2014. This is up from £1.43tn at the end of November 2013 -- an extra £591 per UK adult. 8

The average total debt per household -- including mortgages -- was £55,384 in November 2014. 8

Total lending to individuals increased by £3.3bn in November 2014, compared to the average monthly increase of £3bn over the previous six months. The 3-month annualised and 12-month growth rates were both 2.4%. 5a

At the end of 2013, credit card debt accounted for 4% of total personal borrowing; mortgages accounted for 89%. Total outstanding credit card debt averaged £57.4b a month. 1

Unsecured consumer debt, which is mostly made up of credit card debt, almost tripled between 1993 and 2013, reaching nearly £160bn in November 2013. 9

The average credit borrowing per consumer was £3,342 per UK adult in November 2014. 8

Consumer credit balances increased by £1.3bn in November 2014, compared to the average monthly increase of £1bn over the previous six months. The 3-month annualised and 12-month growth rates were 8.3% and 6.9% respectively. 5a

At the end of 2013, 40% of consumers paid off outstanding balances in full each month or were paying no interest on their balances because their cards charged 0% interest. 1

Of the £56.9bn outstanding on credit cards at the end of 2013, interest-bearing balances accounted for £33.8bn, with non-interest-bearing balances amounting to £23.1bn. 6

At the end of 2013, 3.7% of cardholders had made minimum repayments on their cards for 12 consecutive months; 2.3% had made minimum payments for 24 months. 1

A record 43% of credit card balances incurred no fees in November 2014 - the highest proportion since records began almost 20 years earlier. 15

Outstanding credit card balances at the end of Q3 2014 were £58.5bn. Around 42% of all outstanding balances were non-interest bearing. 2

The average credit card effective interest rate (all balances) was 10.67% in November 2014. 5

Around 7 million people use high-cost credit, such as payday loans. 16


Identity theft and fraud
Between January 2013 and June 2013, fraud losses on UK cards totalled £216.1m --  29% less than in the equivalent period in 2008, when fraud was at its peak (£304.2m). 1

In the first half of 2013, fraud from online and phone purchases was £142m - down by nearly 25% since their peak in 2008, despite a two-thirds increase in online card spending over the same period. 1

Since the inception of the Dedicated Cheque and Plastic Crime Unit (DCPCU) in 2002, the unit has achieved £450m in savings from reduced fraud, and has recovered approximately 700,000 counterfeit cards and compromised card numbers (as of 2014). 1

In 2013, fraud represented 7.4p for every £100 spent. Cheque fraud and telephone banking fraud fell by 22% and 8% respectively from the year before; online banking fraud rose 3%. 10

In 2013, fraud losses on UK cards totalled £450.4m -- down 26% from its peak in 2008. In 2013, there were £301.1m in losses on remote card purchases (those made online, over the telephone or by mail order). 10

In 2013, online fraud against UK retailers totalled an estimated £105.5m. Fraud against online retailers based overseas was an estimated £57.8m. 10

In 2013, losses due to fraud on lost or stolen cards amounted to £58.9m. 10

"Vishing" over the telephone, where fraudsters trick consumers into parting with personal or financial information, has been identified as a driver for the 14% rise in card ID theft from 2012 to 2013 (card ID theft losses were £36.7m in
2013). 10

Card-not-present (CNP) fraud accounted for three-quarters of card fraud cases and fraud losses in the UK from 2012-2014.7

Although losses to CNP fraud saw an overall increase in the two-year period ending in mid-2014, so did the number of card transactions, leaving the overall risk posed by CNP fraud the same as in previous years. Other types of fraud, including cross-border fraud, also remained consistent with previous years. 7

Altrincham has become the top location for identity fraud in the UK, outside certain parts of London (there are areas of the capital with significantly higher rates of identity fraud). The Cheshire town recorded 13 fraud attempts for every 10,000 adults, according to a report released in June 2013. 11


Online and mobile use
In 2012, the total number of consumer internet purchases made by debit and credit cards rose to just over 900m, or 10% of all card payments. 1

In 2013, online banking fraud accounted for £40.9m. Intelligence shows this increase has also been driven by the rise in "vishing" and malware. 10

UK consumers spent £104bn online in 2014, the first time annual spending exceeded £100bn. IMRG and Capgemini forecast total e-retail sales will be worth £116bn by the end of 2015. 21

Sales via smartphones and tablet devices during the 2014 Christmas period, defined as the eight weeks between 2nd November and 27th December,  recorded 55% growth over the same period in 2013. 21

£8bn was spent via mobiles during the 2014 Christmas period, compared to £5.1bn the year before. Sales on a mobile device represented 37% of online sales and an estimated 8.9% of total retail sales. 21


As of January 2015, 270 people in the UK were declared insolvent or bankrupt daily (compared with 266 in April 2014). This is equivalent to one person approximately every 5.5 minutes. 8

As of January 2015, 2,083 Consumer County Court Judgements (CCJs) were issued every day, with an average value of £2,158 (compared with 1,537 in April 2014). 8

More than 300,000 people in the UK are too poor to go bankrupt because they cannot afford the £525 fee, and 8 million British households have no savings -- one of the lowest savings rates in the EU. 16

The rate of debt relief orders (DROs) per 10,000 adults in England and Wales decreased to 6.1 in 2013 from 7.0 in 2012, reversing the increasing trend seen after their introduction in April 2009. 17

The number of companies entering creditors' voluntary liquidation in Q3 2014 increased slightly compared with Q2 2014, having decreased in the previous four quarters. 19

In the first quarter of 2014, there were 3,721 compulsory liquidations and creditors' voluntary liquidations in England and Wales. 12

In the first quarter of 2014, approximately 1 in 167 active companies (0.6% of all active registered companies) went into liquidation. 12

In the first quarter of 2014, there were 24,931 individual insolvencies in England and Wales. This number includes 5,671 bankruptcies, 6,549 Debt Relief Orders (DROs) and 12,711 Individual Voluntary Arrangements (IVAs). 12

The introduction of DROs impacted bankruptcy numbers from April 2009, amongst other factors. As of the first quarter of 2014, the number of DROs was higher than total bankruptcies for the seven previous quarters, while Bankruptcy Orders was lower than IVAs for the previous 12 quarters. IVAs made up 51% of all individual insolvencies in Q1 2014. 12


The proportion of classic (non-premium) UK credit cards with no delinquencies hit a 10-year high at the end of 2013 -- nearly 95% of classic cards were current. 23

As of March 2014, average credit lines were at £4,364, their highest point since June 2009. Cardholders were paying off more of their balance each month, with the percentage of payments to balance at 27.5 percent in December 2013. 23


Customer satisfaction
Between 1 April 2013 and 31 March 2014, the Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS) handled 2,357,374 enquiries -- more than 8,000 each working day. 13

There were 512,167 new cases referred to adjudicators and ombudsmen for further dispute-resolution work. 487,749 cases were  resolved by adjudicators through mediation, recommended settlements and adjudications and 31,029 cases were resolved by ombudsmen making formal decisions at the final "appeal" stage of the dispute-resolution process. 13

Between 1 April 2013 and 31 March 2014, 78% (399,999) of the FOS's new cases were about the sale of payment protection insurance (PPI). 13

During this time, there were 10,472 new complaints about credit cards. 13

Complaints about banking and credit accounted for 13% (65,077) of all cases handled by the FOS in 2014. Of the complaints about banking and credit, 36% were complaints about charges; 23% were about administration, and 16% were about sales and advice. 13


With regard to rewards credit and debit cards, the UK was the most mature market in Europe as of 2012, with 85% of UK customers having at least one rewards card. 20



1. UK Cards Association Annual Report 2014

2. UK Cards Association Quarterly Report Q3 2014

3. UK Cards Association Card Expenditure Statistics November 2014

4. UK Cards Association Card Expenditure News November 2014

5. Bank of England: Effective Interest Rates: November 2014

5a. Bank of England: Money and Credit November 2014

6. The UK Cards Association summary of key statistics for Q4 2013

7. FICO Benchmark Reporting Service

8. The Money Charity: The Money Statistics January 2015

9. Centre for Social Justice report: "Maxed Out: Serious personal debt in Britain"

10. Financial Fraud Action report March 2014

11. Experian report June 2013

12. Insolvency Service; Statistics Release: Insolvencies in the First Quarter 2014

13. Financial Ombudsman Service Annual Review 2013-14

14. The UK Cards Association Contactless Statistics November 2014

15. BBA report November 2014 - Credit Card Market.

16. Centre for Social Justice report July 2014

17. The Insolvency Service: Individual Insolvencies by Region, England and Wales, 2014: Parliamentary Constituency Supplement

18. Insolvency Service, Insolvency statistics: April to June 2014

19. Insolvency Service, Insolvency statistics: July to September 2014

20. Cap Gemini: Next Generation Loyalty Management Systems: Trends, Challenges, and Recommendations (2013)

21. Cap Gemini report, January 2015

22. FICO Average £ Sales per UK Classic Credit Card

23. BBA Monthly Statistics Release December 2014

24. The Money Charity Debt Statistics December 2013

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