- There are 41 million debit card holders in the UK today (84 per cent of the adult population) compared with 27.8 million in 1996;
- There are 68 million debit cards in circulation today, compared with just 19 million debit cards in 1990, three years after their launch;
- Britons made 4.5 billion purchases in 2006 – the equivalent of 143 purchases every second – and spent £194.9 billion on their debit cards, five times the amount we spent in 1996;
- In 2006, each of us with a debit card used it 166 times on average – making £4,799 worth of purchases and acquiring £3,848 in cash;
- In 1987 only 38 per cent of UK adults had a plastic card – and this would have been a credit card. Today, 84 per cent (41 million) of UK adults have a debit card;
- By 2011 personal spending on debit cards will have overtaken cash;
- By 2016, spending on debit cards will have doubled to over £400 billion.
The (contactless) debit card will move us closer to cashlessness. Some people are already well on the way, particularly the younger consumers who are shunning cash and paper cheques almost entirely. About 70 percent of U.S. 20-somethings have a debit card and just over half (18 million) have a credit card. While every segment of the population is increasing its use of plastic, this group (aren’t they called Generation P now?) uses payment cards far more often and is leading a shift away from conventional payment methods. It seems that one of the key drivers for debit use in this group is control: the combination of the debit card at POS and the Internet bank account — to keep track of finances — is ideal for this demographic. One of the young persons interviewed says she avoids any possibility of overdrawing her account by checking it daily. This highlights yet another key advantage of the mobile phone over the contactless card: the phone can display the balance, manage balance limit management and alerts and so on.
These opinions are my own (I think) and presented solely in my capacity as an interested member of the general public [posted with ecto]