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 cash.
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.