Debit card payments have overtaken the use of cash for the first time, driven by the rise of contactless payment.

Last year debit card payments totalled 13.2 billion, data from banking organisation UK Finance showed.

The number of cash payments was 13.1 billion, down 15%. About 3.4 million people barely used cash at all last year.

The popularity of contactless payments among UK consumers is a key driver of debit card growth, UK Finance said.

Altogether, across debit and credit cards, the number of contactless payments increased by 97% in 2017 to 5.6 billion, and almost two-thirds of people in the UK now use contactless payments.

Cash is expected still to be the second-most-popular payment method in a decade’s time, however.

Around 2.2 million consumers mainly used cash for their day-to-day shopping in 2017, although nine out of 10 of them had a debit card they could use if they chose.

UK Finance chief executive Stephen Jones said: “The choice of payment options available in the UK is allowing people to choose to pay the way that best suits them.

“But we’re far from becoming a cash-free society and despite the UK transforming to an economy where cash is less important than it once was, it will remain a payment method that continues to be valued and preferred by many.”