Everyone’s got a debit card, right? It certainly can feel that way, and new data shows just how many are sitting in wallets and pockets around the country.

The number of debit cards in circulation in the UK has actually passed 100m for the first time.

 Latest figures from The UK Cards Association show the milestone was passed in April.

The recorded total of 100.3m is up from 97.6m a year earlier – an increase of 2.7%.

More than half of all retail sales in the UK are made using a debit card

Richard Koch, head of policy, The UK Cards Association
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There are now twice as many debit cards in circulation in the UK than in February 2001, when the 50m card mark was passed.

A total of 61.8m debit cards now feature contactless technology.

Contactless cards accounted for 16% of total card purchases in April. Image by SpeedKingz/Shutterstock.com

The UK Cards Association, the trade body for the UK’s card payments industry, has also revealed how much was spent using debit cards in April.

Debit card spending reached £37.6bn throughout the month, up 6.8% from £36.5bn in April 2015.

The growth in the number of debit cards reflects the changing ways in which consumers make payments and access their money, The UK Cards Association said.

Bank customers receiving debit cards as standard and the decline of ATM-only and cheque guarantee-only cards have contributed.

Richard Koch, head of policy at The UK Cards Association, said: “Since they were first launched in the UK in June 1987, debit cards have become a prime feature in the nation’s wallets.

“Now, almost 30 years later, more than half of all retail sales in the UK are made using a debit card.

“More recently, it has been the growth of contactless, as well as the increasing use of debit cards for online shopping, that has been driving the changes.”

Total spending on payment cards in April was £53bn, up by 0.9% on March, the strongest monthly growth in 13 months.

The number of card purchases also increased by 0.9% in the month, reaching a total of just under 1.2bn.

Contactless accounted for 16% of total card purchases in April, up from 6% in 2015. There were 188m contactless transactions in the month, worth a total of £1.58bn.

Figures released by The UK Cards Association earlier this year showed that spending on contactless cards had passed £1bn for the first time in November 2015. 

The milestone came just two months after the contactless payment limit was increased from £20 to £30.