New data shows card transactions reached 990m in May

Billy Ehrenberg
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Credit card transactions reached 990m in May (Source:Getty)

Credit card transactions rose in the UK last month, at the fastest rate since 2005.

At 990m, the number of transactions reached almost 1bn and totalled £47.1bn. The rise equates to an annualised increase of 9.1 per cent.

Of that total, 70 per cent was spent on debit cards, with debit spend up 8.5 per cent year on year. Credit spend was up 5.3 per cent.

Although the figures seem rosy, there are fears that new mobile phone services may lead to a reduction in card payments.

For now, however, what are we buying?

When looking only at credit card data for April 2014 versus April 2013, the possible trends become clear.

Judging purely by this very limited data, we are spending less money in music shops and more money on food and drink.

More money is also being spent on essentials such as automative fuels and family clothing, but sweet stores and garden centres have also gained from higher credit card sales.

Here are the biggest climbers:

Other losers include artists' supplies and record shops, while men's clothing also fell.

The Financial Times quotes Richard Koch of the UK Cards Association as saying:

"Behind the figures, we're seeing a change in consumer behaviour with people opting to buy less but more often, trading down or switching to budget retailers. At the same time, consumers are using their contactless cards for smaller payments too."

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