back to article Brits now spend more on debit cards than rustle or jingle money

British shoppers are for the first time spending more on their debit cards than in cash, according to banks. The 1.7 billion debit card transactions in the first eight months of this year were worth £272bn, compared to £269bn for cash, the Payments Council said today. Spending on plastic during the August bank holiday …


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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Credit Cards are a Complete Scam

    You should NEVER use a credit card except for the most emergency of situations.

    All credit cards are cons. Their rates/fees/terms&conditions change monthly.

    If you can't afford it, don't buy it. If you don't have the balance on your debit card, don't buy it.

    1. BorkedAgain


      There can be some good reasons for using a credit card:

      ...but they're an expensive form of credit on the whole. Pay off the entire balance monthly (which should allow you to save on fees) and you get the protection without the charges.*

      Pay the minimum repayment every month and you're heading into a maelstrom of debt.

      * Depends on the details of the card in question; contracts vary.

    2. alexh2o

      They can also be life savers!

      Although I agree with you, for some people "don't buy it" is not an option even if they don't have money. When you are truely going through hard times, all financial logic is actively forgotten just so you can 'make it through'! Unless you've been unfortunate enough to find yourself in that position, its very hard to understand the trap..

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Credit Cards are a Complete Scam


      If you use a credit card correctly, you pay no interest, get money back or other rewards and gain further protection on the goods you buy. Only fools pay any interest on credit cards, the rates/fees etc are irrelevent if you use them correctly.

      I NEVER use anything but a credit card to buy unless I ABSOLUTLY have no alternative - it's the money savvy way to shop and has saved me thousands over the years.

    4. Keith 21

      Credit cards are fine...

      ...if you are intelligent enough to use them properly.

      My card has no fee (thus costs me nothing), I pay it off in full each month (thus pay no interest), and I benefit from the fraud protection they offer plus the added security that if there is a problem with the goods, I can have the card company resolve it instead of dealing with a dodgy 9or even bankrupt) manufacturer.

      Win-win. Costs me nothing, gains me added protection, AND I earn a small bit of interest on the money while it remains in my (offset mortgage) account.

      Where's the scam?

    5. Anonymous Coward
      Thumb Up

      Spot on

      Listen to this man - he speaks words of wisdom. I had a credit card for two months when I was 19. It lasted until I saw the price of spending someone else money and then it got cut up rather fast. If you want something, save up! There really is no argument.

    6. Rob Beard

      Credit cards?

      Where in the article were CREDIT cards mentioned?

      They say more people are using DEBIT cards.

      In any case, credit cards (and I believe Visa debit cards, even the standard Electron) offer payment protection, so if something breaks you can sue the bank to get your money back etc.

      Personally I tend to mainly use cash (apart from big purchases or online stuff), and what really annoys me is the stupid numpties who say buy a sandwich and drink from Sainsbury's at the value of about 3 quid and pay by debit card holding everyone else up while they faff around with chip and pin rubbish.

      Don't even get me started about self-checkout tills, they take even longer!

      Mine's the one with the big wad of used £5 notes in the pocket.


      1. Ragarath
        Thumb Down

        @Rob Beard

        You have to be joking right?

        It takes me no longer to pay by debit card than it does for your checkout person to count your change out correctly.

        The people your talking about are the ones that have the trouble not the system. And by and large it would be the same with cash, they would still take time counting they had the correct change.

        Please go spread your hogwash elsewhere.

        1. Mark Aggleton
          Thumb Down


          I think you are the one joking. In outlets that don't have a proper network connection (pubs for example) I find it ridiculous when someone tries to pays for a cup of coffee (£1.50) with a debit card and it takes ages to auth.

      2. Nigel 11

        Mad *NOT* to use a credit card!

        I was wondering, why on earth don't people use a credit card instead? And why does *anyone* use a debit card?

        Obviously, you need to engage brain first. You want one with perks. You set it up to settle monthly, automatically, in full, by direct debit. You choose one that doesn't charge an annual fee, unless the perks are still attractive after the fee is deducted.

        Mine is an Egg Money card. The perk is 1% cashback on everything I spend. Mine is historically fee-free, but it would still be a decent deal with a ten-quid annual fee. I also get the legal benefits of the Consumer Credit Act (principally, if a supplier goes bust after I order, It's the card company's loss not mine).

        I guess you should avoid credit cards if you aren't enough in control of your finances to be sure of repaying in full every month. But then, shouldn't such a person use cash, checking their bank balance at the ATM before withdrawing, so as not to go into the red and be hit by the bank charges extortion racket? Compared to which, paying 20% APR on a loan for a few weeks is positively painless.

      3. RegGuy


        No section 75 only applies to credit cards. Debit cards are not loans, hence are not covered by the Consumer Credit Act, 1974. Brilliant legislation!

    7. No, I will not fix your computer
      Thumb Up


      When you use a credit card the seller has to give a cut to the credit card company, to get you to use their cards these companies will give points or cashback to the customer (out of this cut), so if you can avoid all other charges by paying it all off within the payment date, not going over your limits, not doing cash withdrawls etc. then it's free money (for you), of course the seller is losing out by you using a credit card and the credit card company is still getting something out of it (not exactly free money and you might be better getting a cash discount).

      So if you were going to spend the money anyway, AND there's no fee for using a card AND you avoid all credit card charges then pick a card that gives you something back, either cash, airmiles (or in my case) Tesco points (I saved mine up for free holidays to Switzerland/Maldives/New York x2 and Egypt).

    8. Pen-y-gors Silver badge

      Safe online shopping?

      I only have one credit card these days, but that is used only for various minor on-line transactions and is cleared every month. It's also handy to have a spare bit of plastic in case foreign ATMs aren't happy with the debit card. Anything else is paid cash or via debit card (or electronic transfer).

      On-line shopping can be pretty risky (yeah, really!) but this way if anything goes wrong a) I get the purchase protection and b) I can cancel the card without too much hassle - and I have no intention of giving my debit card details out to a call-centre drone in some distant land who probably earns less in a year than I do in a week!

      The hard bit was getting a low enough credit limit - I only wanted £500 so that if any dodgy activities happen and the bank refuse to refund then the maximum risk is limited. Under protest I can afford to write off £500, but not £10K. A friend recently got done by some dodgy ticket agency and is still arguing over getting a refund for £7500 for concert tickets she didn't order. Years back I had a couple of cards from MBNA and they kept upping the credit limit without being asked - I ended up with £25K in total!

  2. Lottie

    No real surprise

    Lets face it, jangly money is a PITA to sort, easilly lost and embarrasing when dropped at the counter and you have to root around to pick it up and everyone is waiting.

    Folding is easier to deal with, but scams (like the half note in your change one), forgeries and so on suck.

    Cards are just so much easier to use. I pay for probably 90% of my shopping on my card, only using cash for small things at the corner shop or cash only transactions.

    Also, last time I tried to pay for anything on eBay with cash, I had to remove shredded tenners from my floppy drive. :-)

  3. Mister_C

    monopoly money

    All the major banks have just forced a visa debit card (near)monopoly on us recently. Only one way the merchant charges are likely to go and it won't be to the customer/client advantage.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    Not for me

    I use my debit card less and less now, mostly just to withdraw the occasional £50 from the hole in the wall. The majority of my spending over a fiver goes on to my credit card, which gives me cashback on all of it... not a fortune, but better than a smack in the eye.

    And I only spend what I've got (what I would've paid for in cash/debit anyway), and pay off the balance at the end of EVERY month. So no interest, just money in my pocket - kerchinggg!

    Thank you Mr. Martin Lewis and the Money Saving Expert website ;-)

  5. Michael 28

    Phew!.....for a minute there..

    ....i thought wikileaks had finally found out about me spreading the cash 'round my living room and rolling around in it naked!

  6. Bassey


    I must admit to be completely blown away by the news that, until August, most transactions used cash. I know very few people that use cash for anything other than maybe beer. Surely anyone with common-sense uses their cards for all purchases (paying off credit cards monthly) to gain the extra protection and make the most of cash-back.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    Debit cards are perfect for prats like me!

    Don't own a credit card, never will again. I used to and got into a lot of trouble, because I was a complete prat and didn't use them wisely. Not blaming anyone, not even the credit company, I was at fault and I warn others to go easy. Use them but don't abuse them!

    Debit cards, I use all the time. I know the money is spent, removed from the bank account within minutes and they are refused if you don't have the money. For someone as useless with money as me, they are perfect!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      I'll join you

      I'll join you in the 'too dumb to own a credit card corner'.

      I ended up paying back £1,500 on a £500 purchase made on a BarclayCard.

  8. Steve Morgan

    You'll never get rid of cash completely...

    Just can't see the drug dealers having a chip and pin machine...

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Thumb Up

      brown envelopes

      will always find favour with politicians the world over.

  9. xnfec

    Cash - too many trips the machine

    Give the rising cost of things these days you would find yourself either going to the cash machine after every purchase or carrying around very large sums of cash. All in all, plastic is much more convenient.

  10. Neal 5


    Credit card,Debit card, cash whatever, it's all the same, when it goes wrong (whatever way) you'll all be saying the reverse.

    Joke ::: 2 mates walking through a bad area of town see an approaching gang of neer-do-wells, realising they are about to get mugged, the first mate says to the second, here's the 50 quid I owe you.

    Flash the plastic,wash the cash.

  11. Will Godfrey Silver badge

    But who protects you from the credit card companies?

    Not once, but twice I had credit card companies screw up and claim I hadn't payed. On both occasions, when I presented bank statements proving the transaction had taken place, they proceeded to credit the wrong card, and the next month claim I had two months outstanding payments. It took much arguing and many phone calls (at my expense of course) before I could finally get them to sort it out. The most recent occasion also resulted in a frozen card and and a bad credit record, which I still can't get corrected.

    Debit, cash or cheque from now on.

  12. JaitcH

    Cash is King!

    1. No trouble having cash accepted (if good money);

    2. No audit trails for The Plod, tax man or expense auditors to check;

    3. No anxious moments waiting to see if:there is a message to contact your bank;

    4. No anxious moments waiting to see if HSBC has inadvertently cancelled your card;

    5. No anxious moments waiting to see if HSBC is having computer problems, again;

    6. Instant balance info by sticking your hand in your pocket;

    7. No use information sold off to marketing outfits.

    Nothing beats CASH, ask any tax dodger, drug dealer or frequent traveller.

  13. Charles Manning

    Is UK really that far behind?

    I really struggle to believe that the Brits have taken this long to shift off cash to debit cards. Perhaps it is because the UK's EFTPOS systems are really poor.

    I'm sure most of the rest of the world reached this point 10-20 years ago.

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