This report was put together using the UK Cards Association 2017 publications, along with data released by the Bank of England in February 2018.
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.
Average credit card purchase.
Average debit card purchase.
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%).
How likely would you be to recommend finder to a friend or colleague?
Very UnlikelyExtremely Likely
Thank you for your feedback.
Our goal is to create the best possible product, and your thoughts, ideas and suggestions play a major role in helping us identify opportunities to improve.
finder.com is an independent comparison platform and information service that aims to provide you with the tools you need to make better decisions. While we are independent, the offers that appear on this site are from companies from which finder.com receives compensation. We may receive compensation from our partners for placement of their products or services. We may also receive compensation if you click on certain links posted on our site. While compensation arrangements may affect the order, position or placement of product information, it doesn't influence our assessment of those products. Please don't interpret the order in which products appear on our Site as any endorsement or recommendation from us. finder.com compares a wide range of products, providers and services but we don't provide information on all available products, providers or services. Please appreciate that there may be other options available to you than the products, providers or services covered by our service.