Card payments have become a pillar of the retail sector

Britains’ increasing reliance on credit and debit card payments to navigate through difficult times has been underlined by a new report.

Conducted by Santander, the study found that there has been a 60 per cent increase in credit card usage during the first quarter of 2013, compared to the same period in 2012.

What’s more, the study confirmed that the total value of transactions made by the average card user during that time has increased by 37 per cent.

Petrol stations, for instance, have seen a 63 per cent increase in the number of transactions by the average card user, while there has also been a 64 per cent increase in the value of expenditure.

Supermarkets, meanwhile, have witnessed a 99 per cent increase in the value of card transactions per card user, and department stores have experienced a 43 per cent jump.

Alan Mathewson, chief executive of Santander Cards, commented, “We have seen much more activity from our card customers in the first quarter of this year compared with last. We believe that while consumers are generally using their cards more, the biggest increases are driven by customers being much more savvy about being rewarded for their expenditure.”

He added, “Some of the biggest increases in both number and value of transactions were in petrol stations, supermarkets and department stores, which suggests that customers are specifically taking advantage of cashback rewards on offer through our cashback credit card.”

Increasingly, it seems Brits are heading online to make card payments, with a recent study from Sheilas’ Wheels home insurance confirming that consumers are spending almost £4,000 a year online while at work.

Consumers spend £314 a month from the comfort of their desk on average, according to the study, which confirmed that more than half (51 per cent) surf the web at work at least once a day for goods.