The number of transactions made using debit and credit cards in the UK has more than doubled in the last 10 years, according to a report by The UK Cards Association.

The report, titled “UK Card Payments 2017”, highlighted that debit and credit cards were used to make 16.4 billion purchases in 2016, a 146% increase from 6.7 billion in 2006. It means cardholders both in the UK and travelling overseas made 518 card payments every second last year.

Growth in the number of card transactions has surpassed the increase in the amount spent, which shows consumers’ increasing preference for using cards instead of cash for lower value payments. In 2016, the average value of a card transaction decreased to £43.47, its lowest level in 15 years.

By the end of 2016, four in 10 (39%) card transactions were either online or made using a contactless card, compared to a quarter (24%) during the previous year, as per the statistics released by the UK card association.

The UK Cards Association CEO Graham Peacop said: “Card payments play a central role in our economy, with spending equivalent to a third of the UK’s GDP.

“As consumers continue to make the switch from cash to contactless and with the rise of the app-economy, we forecast that the number of card payments will grow substantially over the next decade too.”

The study further highlighted that £709bn was spent by UK debit and credit card holders both domestically and overseas in 2016. Debit cards represented 75% of this total spends, amounting to £530bn.

For all retail spending in the UK, payment cards were used for three-quarters (77%) in 2016. Cardholders spent the most on food and drink (£114bn), followed by other services (£100bn), financial services (£80bn) and entertainment (£57bn).