Online credit spending averages £192 a month

By UK CreditCards.com

Online shopping has become commonplace in Britain, with consumers proving happy to use their credit cards when purchasing goods from websites. A new study has provided a snapshot of online credit card use and revealed the extent to which consumers are now spending over the internet.

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£6.4bn spent on credit cards each month
The average Briton uses a credit card to make £192 worth of online purchases each month, according to Sainsbury's Finance. A survey of more than 2,000 people found that almost £6.4bn worth of online credit card transactions are made each month. While the average monthly spend is less than £200, the poll suggests that about 1.2 million people spend more than £1,000 per month on credit cards online.

Credit card trends
The research uncovered a number of interesting trends about credit card use. For instance, online spending on credit cards is particularly common in the 35 to 44 age group, with these people typically spending £214 online each month, compared to £162.60 for 18 to 24-year-olds.

There also appears to be wide variation across the country. People living in the south-east of England tend to spend the most online, averaging £236 per month. In contrast, Scottish consumers spend an average of just £115.90 online on their credit cards each month.

Rapid growth
The popularity of online shopping is impressive, considering that the first World Wide Web server was only created in 1990. The Sainsbury's Finance research shows that 25.4 million adults now regularly use their credit cards to make purchases online, with DVDs, music, books, fashion items and holiday gifts among the most popular items. Stuart McKeggie, head of cards at Sainsbury's Finance, described the rapid growth of online shopping as "staggering." He revealed: "Our research found that only 7% of credit card holders do not use their cards online."

Security tips
Despite the fact that credit card use has now become commonplace, users should remember to be vigilant when making purchases online. Cardholders should only use sites they trust and that enable purchases to be made over a secure connection. Email receipts should be retained, in case something goes wrong with the purchase, and consumers are advised to ensure they know their rights regarding faulty or undelivered goods.

Credit card users are also urged to use a secure connection whenever they buy items online, particularly when shopping over a wireless network or via a mobile device. Finally, shoppers should make sure they have up-to-date security software and that their virus protection has recently been updated.

Published: 2 December 2010