Shoppers in the build up to Christmas were much more inclined to spend on their debit card rather than their credit card – dispelling the myth that consumers were getting in to debt to fund their festive celebrations.

In November, which included the highest spending day of the year (Black Friday, Nov 28) – £34.4bn was spent on debit cards, compared with £14.1bn on credit cards. There was no rush to spend more on credit cards, in fact the rate of growth on credit card spending was just 4 per cent, well below the average 4.7 per cent rate of increase since the start of the year. Debit spending rose 7.4 per cent.

The volume of transactions paints a similar picture. There were 799m debit card transactions made in November, compared to the much smaller 241m credit card payments made. Interestingly, the pace of growth on both debit and credit card spending has continuously decelerated since April when it peaked at 7.5 per cent. In fact, for this month, the annual growth rate for card transactions was 6.4 per cent – the lowest level in fourteen months.

Richard Koch, Head of Policy at The UK Cards Association, said:

“There is a popular myth that people splurge on their credit cards in order to pay for Christmas but our figures show that the reality is really quite different. Shoppers would still much prefer to pay using their debit card and there has been no spike in credit card spending as some commentators had predicted. In fact, around 81% of all credit and charge card spending in 2013 was made by cardholders who repaid the balance in full.”