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Online card payments jump by a fifth

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The number of card transactions made on the internet has increased by 20 per cent in the past year, according to figures.

Consumers made 130 million card payments online in August (almost 50 per second) up from 108 million in the same period last year, spending a total of £11.5bn online in August 2015, the UK Cards Association said.

Just as contactless technology is driving the use of cards instead of cash for lower value payments, consumers are also using cards for smaller purchases online too. The average value of an online card transaction has dropped by £8.44 in the past year to £85.27.

Overall, 22.4 per cent of all card spending is now online, with 47 per cent of all card spending on financial services online (the highest proportion for any sector). Only 7 per cent of the total card spending on food and drink is online, although this has increased from 5 per cent in August 2014.

In total, all card spending increased by 0.5 per cent during August to reach £51.1bn. There were 1.1 billion card transactions in the month. The table below illustrates the year-on-year rises in online card payments.

Total spending Annual spending growth rates Number of purchases
£ billions £ Millions
Aug-15 Aug-14 Aug-15 Aug-14 Aug-15 Aug-14
All payment cards 51.1 48.2 6.6% 7.8% 1,101 1,013
Of which online 11.5 10 130 108
Debit cards 36 34 7.3% 8.5% 841 778
Credit cards 15 14.2 4.8% 6.2% 260 235


Spending by sector

  • Retail  spending increased by £40m to £24bn in August, driven by household goods, sports and cosmetics.
  • Educational establishments, car rental and aquariums recorded substantial rises in spending in August.
  • The debit and credit card share of total retail sales was 76.4 per cent in August.

“Whether it’s on the move using a mobile device, at work or home, the rise in online transactions shows how increasingly important the internet is in our everyday lives,” said Richard Koch, head of policy at the UK Cards Association.

“Card payments are central to this transformation, enabling companies to do business online and consumers to make safe, reliable transactions.”

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