Debit card spending overtook cash transactions for the first time in the UK in the 12 months to October, according to figures released by the Payments Council.
For many years debit cards have often been primarily used at ATMs to withdraw cash, which is then spent over the counter. This story goes to show that the UK has passed the tipping point, and we have managed to drive consumers to directly use their debit
cards to spend on, rather than to withdraw cash. (Which is also good for the economy as a whole given the costs involved in printing, counting, transporting and managing cash.)
However this certainly isn't the case in many other European countries, where cash is still king. At this week's Central European Card Conference we heard that banks in Poland are now issuing contactless debit cards to encourage consumers to spend directly
with their cards, and this does seem to be driving greater card transaction volumes. It will be interesting to see if we see if this approach is adopted elsewhere.
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