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Plastic spending trebles in ten years

Spending on plastic has more than trebled in the UK over the past decade, with £321 billion spent on cards in 2006, according to a new report from Apacs.The UK payment processing association says that of all consumer spending, the amount splashed on plastic now constitutes nearly a third.Spending on debit cards has risen the most over the past decade, with 61 per cent of all plastic spending done by debit, accounting for £195 billion in consumer money.Credit card spending has more than doubled since 1996, with £126 billion spent on credit cards last year.Meanwhile the popularity of cheques has taken a dip; while £172 billion was spent via cheques in 1996 only £162 billion was spent in this way last year.In 2005, cards exceeded cash in all retail spending for the first time and the gap between cards and cash accelerated in 2006 with cash spending of £274 billion. Sandra Quinn, director of communications at Apacs, said: "The last ten years have seen a rapid rise in the popularity of plastic, with debit cards showing particularly strong growth. Consumers enjoy the ease and convenience plastic cards bring, and today most retailers and supermarkets take plastic, as do an increasing number of professional service providers."She added that the next decade is likely to see card payments account for 89 per cent of growth in UK payment volumes.

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