The UK Cards Association has released its latest car expenditure statistics for March 2017

Highlights from the statistics include:

  • Payment card spending in March 2017 was £57.8 billion, up by £335 million (0.6 per cent) on February
  • Contactless payments amounted to 32 per cent of card purchases, an increase from 15 per cent a year ago, with total contactless spending in March at £4 billion
  • Online spending amounted to £15.3 billion, which at 27 per cent of purchases was a five per cent increase on March 2016
  • Within the retail sector, card spending grew by £179 million in March, to £26.2 billion. The largest increases came from food and drink and mixed business
  • Spending within the service sector grew by £156 million to £34.6 billion, with the financial services sector a strong contributor to growth
  • The debit and credit card share of total national retail sales was 78.4 per cent in March.
  • There was a considerable growth in spending at garden centres (up 93 per cent) and on gardening services (up 60 per cent) coinciding with the first month of spring
  • The substantial increase evident at security brokers and dealers (up 85 per cent) was likely to reflect consumers ensuring they have used their ISA allocation for the financial year 2016/17

Richard Koch, Head of Policy at The UK Cards Association, said “Cards are the default way to pay for millions of consumers and this is reflected by the increase in card spending month-on-month. Even with a slowdown in economic growth card spending has continued to remain robust, underlining the role cards play for consumers.”

Total Spending

£ billions

Annual growth rates for spending Number of purchases


Mar 2017 Mar 2016 Mar  2017 Mar 2016 Mar 2017 Mar 2016
All payment cards 57.8 52.4 6.1% 6.6% 1,368 1,188
  Of which online 15.3 11.7 15% 13% 190 144
Debit cards 41.0 37.3 6.5% 7.3% 1,057 917
Credit cards 16.7 15.0 5.1% 4.9% 310 272