Credit Card Statistics for 2018

Discover how credit cards are used in the UK

26 April 2018
This report was put together using the UK Cards Association 2017 publications, along with data released by the Bank of England in February 2018.

For help choosing the right credit card, read our guide to the best cards available on the UK market.

The latest facts and figures

Number of card holders

UK residents are more likely to own a debit card than a credit card. At the end of 2016, there were 32.3 million credit card holders in the UK, and 51.1 million debit card holders. In other words, people are 58% more likely to own a debit card.

Average transaction values

People tend to spend more at a time on a credit card than on a debit card. The average purchase via credit card is £53.55, 39% higher than the debit card’s average of £38.43. Contactless purchases are smaller still, with an average value of £9.40.

£53.55

Average credit card purchase.

£38.43

Average debit card purchase.

£9.40

Average contactless purchase.

Average credit card debt

In February 2018 the total credit card debt in the UK was £70.8 billion. This equates to £2,604 credit card debt per household.

Credit card trends 1993-2018

Monthly credit card spending 1993-2018

Total credit card spending has been on a steady upward climb since 1993. November 2017 saw the biggest month on record with £17.3 billion spent, over five times the amount spent in November 1993, £3.3 billion. As well as this general increasing trend, each year follows a distinct pattern, having a sharp increase in credit card spending in the couple of months leading up to Christmas, followed by a steep drop around February.

Lending and repayments (seasonally adjusted) 1997-2018

Lending and repayments closely mirrored each other’s movements up until late 2012, where lending continued to rise while repayments took a plunge. Repayment levels haven’t quite recovered and a significant gap between them and lending remains. In 2017 for example, £193 billion was lent in total via credit cards, while £150 billion was paid back.

Note that this data has been seasonally adjusted, meaning the regular, predictable yearly fluctuations, such as increased spending before Christmas, have been subtracted. This way the underlying trends can be more easily observed.

Credit card write-offs each quarter, 1993-2017

Credit card write-offs saw a steady increase up until a huge spike in 2010, reaching a peak of £2.1 billion in June. This figure has generally decreased since, with fluctuations. In 2017, the total amount written off was £1.6 billion, a decrease of 1.3% compared to 2016.

Average interest rates on credit card loans, 1999-2018

Interest rates on credit card loans have been relatively steady in recent years. Between 1999 and 2003 they decreased consistently, going from a high of 17.97% in February 1999 to a low of 13.49% in July 2003, which is still the month with the lowest average interest rates on record. Since 2008, they’ve generally hovered around 18%. In 2017, the average interest rate was 18.2%, a very slight decrease from that of year before (18.4%).

Yearly figures: 1993-2017

Year Total lending (billions) Total repayments (billions) Total write-offs (millions) Average interest rate (%)
1994 £41.1 £170
1995 £47.8 £139
1996 £54.7 £195
1997 £60.1 £15.2 £245
1998 £66.3 £64.6 £328
1999 £83.8 £72.7 £490 17.1
2000 £97.0 £84.8 £698 16.2
2001 £104.2 £92.7 £876 15.1
2002 £116.8 £102.8 £1,060 14.0
2003 £124.8 £115.5 £1,570 13.7
2004 £133.1 £123.3 £1,664 14.6
2005 £133.0 £126.6 £2,185 15.1
2006 £127.1 £123.3 £2,797 16.0
2007 £128.1 £123.3 £3,113 17.2
2008 £131.1 £124.2 £3,200 17.6
2009 £121.4 £116.8 £4,117 18.0
2010 £130.7 £129.1 £5,315 18.5
2011 £136.5 £129.1 £3,643 18.4
2012 £138.7 £129.5 £2,077 18.1
2013 £152.2 £121.8 £1,713 18.0
2014 £160.8 £129.8 £1,344 17.9
2015 £174.9 £140.7 £1,442 18.0
2016 £183.7 £144.7 £1,583 18.4
2017 £192.9 £150.4 £1,563 18.2

Sources used

For all media enquiries, please contact

Matt Mckenna
UK Communications Manager
M: +44 747 921 7816
T: +44 20 3828 1338
matt.mckenna@finder.com@MichHutchison/in/matthewmckenna2

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