According to UK Finance, this is the first time that card payments constituted more than half of all the payment modes used in the country


UK Finance : More than half of payments in UK were through cards in 2019. (Credit: Ahmad Ardity from Pixabay)

A new report from UK Finance found that usage of card and contactless payments continued to surge in the UK in 2019, with card payments making up 51% of all payments.

The trade association for the UK banking and financial services sector said that this is the first time that card payments constituted more than half of all the payment modes used in the country.

The UK Payment Markets report from the association found that debit cards were the most used payment method in 2019 with 17 billion payments. Of these, seven billion were contactless, said the report.

UK Finance revealed that consumer use of credit cards saw a 7% year-over-year growth in 2019 to reach 3.3 billion payments. This was partly driven by the increased issuance of contactless credit cards last year with 1.3 billion credit card payments made through contactless in the reported year.

The number of contactless payments across debit and credit cards moved up by 16% to 8.6 billion, found the UK Payment Markets report. According to UK Finance, the continued move by consumers towards these payment methods could have helped prepare them for the changes they are now experiencing because of the Covid-19 lockdown.

The association said that trends in payment habits could have also contributed in preparedness for the lockdown as supermarkets were the most popular place for contactless spending last year.

Apart from that, 48 million adults in the UK purchased goods and services through the internet in 2019. This was because online shopping continued to grow across all age groups, especially with about four-fifths of those over 65 years shopping online in 2019, said the trade association.

Cash payments dropped by 15% in 2019, says UK Finance

As per the UK Payment Markets report, cash payments continued to drop in 2019, with a 15% decline to 9.3 billion payments. However, cash still remained the second most popular payment method in the country with the top spot occupied by debit card.

UK Finance CEO Stephen Jones said: “An increase in ways to pay coupled with the change in people’s payment habits may have inadvertently gone some way to prepare the nation for the impact of Covid-19 on their daily lives.

“With consumers already using contactless payments and remote banking more than in previous years, these technological advances have allowed many people to shop and make payments safely from home or in store.”