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Debit cards eclipse cash in Britain

By the CNN Wire Staff
  • Consumers spent more with debit cards than with cash
  • Debit card purchases rose 10% in the summer compared with last year
  • Spokeswoman: "Cash is too cumbersome for many consumers"

London, England (CNN) -- Debit cards have eclipsed cash for the first time as the most popular payment method in Britain, a report found Friday.

Consumers spent 272 billion pounds ($426.3 billion) with their debit cards as of end of August, whereas they spent 269 billion pounds ($421.5 billion) in cash, according to the Payments Council, a group of British financial institutions that sets payment methods in Britain.

"Cash is too cumbersome for many consumers these days -- they prefer a card for anything more than the smallest transactions," said Payments Council spokeswoman Sandra Quinn. "We now expect our debit cards to be accepted everywhere we go -- in pubs and clubs, at the corner shop, online, and on the high street."

The number of debit card purchases rose 10% in the summer of 2010 compared with the year before, and the amount spent rose almost 11%, the council said.

Debit cards were used three times as much as credit cards, the council said.

Credit card spending remained fairly flat in the third quarter of this year, compared with the same period in 2009.