40.5 million card payments made every day last year, industry body says

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More than 40 million card payments took place every day across the UK last year typically, according to an industry body.

The UK Cards Association said 14.8 billion card transactions took place across 2016, equating to 40.5 million per day and 469 per second.

Consumers spent a total of £647 billion using payment cards last year, as the appetite for making contactless and online card payments grew.

Total card spending in 2015 came to £620 billion, with 13.4 billion card transactions taking place in that year.

Spending using contactless "tap and go" cards helped to boost last year's increase, with contactless payments accounting for £25 billion of spending in 2016, compared with £7.75 billion in 2015.

The Association said the number of card purchases reached a record monthly total of 1.3 billion in December 2016, up by 13 million on November.

It said the increase was partly a reflection of the Christmas shopping season and the price discounts on offer, notably on Boxing Day.

Nearly a quarter of total card spending by value in December was made via the internet.

Some £13.4 billion was spent using cards online in December, with total card spending during that month standing at £56.5 billion.

Spending on contactless cards reached a record £3.4 billion in December.

The number of contactless payments amounted to 354 million, accounting for over a quarter of total card payments in December.

Graham Peacop, chief executive of the UK Cards Association, said: "Contactless cards are increasingly becoming the payment method of choice for everyday, low-value purchases, with a quarter of card payments now contactless."

The average online card payment was for £80.04 in December, while the average contactless card payment was for £9.52.

Separate data released by Barclaycard showed contactless spending in supermarkets has surged by 136% over the past year. 

Tami Hargreaves, commercial director, digital consumer payments at Barclaycard, said: "The days of the weekly food shop are gone for many Brits.

"While a couple of hours spent browsing store aisles will always be preferred by some, there is a clear shift towards speed and convenience, coupled with several top-up shops through-out the week.

"This change in consumer behaviour lends itself to the sharp increase in touch and go we're seeing in the supermarket sector."