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Last Updated: Wednesday, 12 October 2005, 08:58 GMT 09:58 UK
Shoppers 'curb spending on cards'
Credit card
Over a third of UK cards are Mastercard branded
UK consumers reduced their spending on credit and debit cards during September, Mastercard has said.

The total amount spent using Mastercard branded credit and debit cards fell 3.5% to 5.41bn during the month.

The restaurant and leisure sectors were hardest hit - suffering spending falls of 9.9% and 3.9% respectively - the group added.

Mastercard's figures will add weight to recent reports that UK High Street spending has slowed.

Mastercard branded credit and debit cards account for just over a third of the total number of cards in use in the UK.

Belt tightening

Its latest figures support recent evidence of a drop in borrowing and lower spending on the High Street.

Last month, the Bank of England (BoE) said that credit card borrowing fell by 146m in August as borrowers paid off some of their debts.

In addition, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) said consumer demand remained weak but stable in August, while retailers such as Next, Bhs and Kingfisher have reported tough trading conditions.

"UK consumers are tightening their belts as they feel the financial pinch inflicted by rising petrol and fuel prices," Brian Moore, Mastercard Europe's senior vice-president, said.

Mr Moore added that another cut in interest rates was necessary to boost consumer spending.

The BoE's Monetary Policy Committee decided last week to leave UK interest rates on hold at 4.5%.

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