Debit card statistics

Discover how Brits are using their debit cards.

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Debit cards are the bread and butter of banking, allowing you to spend the balance of your current account without borrowing (unless you have an overdraft of course). They are an extremely versatile and popular way of spending, so we decided to investigate how we Brits are using our debit cards.

Quick stats

  • In 2017, debit cards overtook cash in the UK as the most common method of payment.
  • As of July 2019, 97 million debit cards were in circulation in the UK, 84 million of which were contactless.
  • 1.5 billion transactions were carried out on debit cards by UK cardholders in July 2019. This was 8.9% more than in July 2018.
  • The total value of transactions made with debit cards in July 2019 was £50.671 billion. This was £686 million more than in July 2018.
  • 98% of the population holds a debit card.
  • By 2024, it’s expected that debit cards will be responsible for half of all payments made in the UK.

UK debit card holders

Purchases on debit cards

    When comparing July 2019 to July 2018, the number of purchases on debit cards has increased by 8.9%. This is equivalent to 123 million more purchases made in July 2019 (1.52 billion) than in July 2018 (1.40 billion).
    Month Purchases on debit cardsby UK card holders (billions)
    May 18 1.371
    Jun 18 1.386
    Jul 18 1.398
    Aug 18 1.409
    Sep 18 1.418
    Oct 18 1.425
    Nov 18 1.433
    Dec 18 1.442
    Jan 19 1.452
    Feb 19 1.463
    Mar 19 1.475
    Apr 19 1.487
    May 19 1.500
    Jun 19 1.512
    Jul 19 1.522
      Since July 2018, the value of purchases made on debit cards has increased by £686 million (1.38%). In July 2019, the total value of purchases made on debit cards by UK cardholders was £50.67 billion. Despite increasing over summer and autumn, interestingly during the winter, the value of purchases took a dip. Over the last year, spending on debit cards reached its lowest point in January 2019 (£49.73 billion).
      Month Value of purchases in billions
      May 18 £49.73
      Jun 18 £49.89
      Jul 18 £49.99
      Aug 18 £50.14
      Sep 18 £50.18
      Oct 18 £50.09
      Nov 18 £49.94
      Dec 18 £49.79
      Jan 19 £49.73
      Feb 19 £49.80
      Mar 19 £49.98
      Apr 19 £50.19
      May 19 £50.38
      Jun 19 50.539
      Jul 19 50.671

      Contactless debit cards

        Over two thirds (69%) of Brits used contactless technology while spending with their card in 2018. In the UK there are 97 million debit cards in circulation and 84 million of these (86.6%) are contactless. By July 2019 there were 131 million contactless cards in total in circulation in the UK, of which 64.12% were debit cards.
        Percentage Number of debit cards (million)
        Contactless debit cards 86.60% 84
        Non-contactless debit cards 13.40% 13


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        Matt Mckenna
        Head of UK Communications
        T: +44 20 8191 8806

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