Last year the UK saw the first fall in the
number of plastic cards in issue for nearly twenty years,
highlighting a growing trend where consumers seem to be
consolidating their card usage to debit cards.  

The UK Cards Association (UKCA) attributed the
fall to the decrease in credit and charge cards where the combined
total fell 11 percent, from 72.3m cards in issue down to 64.4m. At
the same time the number of debit cards increased by 3m to
reach 79.3m.

The number of ATM only cards and stand alone
cheque guarantee cards continued to decline whilst the number of
prepaid cards grew to an estimated 2.5m.

Whilst the total number of credit card
purchases increased slightly during 2009, their total value fell to
£144bn, 5.3 percent lower than the previous year.

Despite highlighting considerable uncertainty
in the UK credit card market, with a fragile economy and regulatory
pressures, the report predicts that UK credit and charge card
payment volumes with grow to three billion with total spending of
£196bn by 2019.

Debit card payments are forecasted to almost
double over the next ten years to 10.8 billion payments with a
total value of £513bn. UKCA expects that this year the value of all
consumer spending with debit cards will overtake that with

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2009 saw 608m card payments made online with a
total spend of £47.2bn. Of these payments 48 percent were made
using debit cards and 52 percent using credit or charge cards.