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Card spending tops cash sales

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Debit card spending has outstripped cash spending for the first time, new figures have revealed.

The new figures from APACS, the UK payments association, showed that debit cards accounted for 37% of all retail spend in 2005, ahead of cash at 34%.

The use of debit cards increased by 9% since last year, according to the figures which covered all retail transactions in 2005 (both online and offline).

APACS also revealed that debit card spending accounted for £89bn of the total £240bn spent, and that cash only accounted for £81bn.

According to Sandra Quinn, director of communications at APACS, all plastic cards transactions accounted for 63% of UK retail spending last year.

Quinn said: “At the end of 2004, we saw total UK spending on plastic overtake cash for the first time, signalling a real sea change in our payment habits.  This change was mainly driven by debit card use.

“There are many reasons behind this continuing trend to pay by debit card, and one of the reasons is that more businesses are accepting cards.  However it is also being led by us as customers – debit cards have been around in the UK for almost 20 years so we now have an entire generation of shoppers who readily delve for their debit card instead of cash.”


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