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Britain is the Credit King of Europe

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Britons are "officially addicted" to plastic, according to a new report.

The Datamonitor survey found Britain is the only country in Europe with more credit cards than people.

It also showed that the total number of payment cards held in the UK is equivalent to two cards for every man, woman and child.

Some 67 million credit cards were in circulation in the UK in 2003.

"The UK is undoubtedly the most developed card market in Europe, and is second only to the US internationally," report author Kieran Hines said.

"Consumers in the UK have grown extremely comfortable in making payments by plastic card over recent years.

"This is shown in the high and growing numbers of plastic cards in the market relative to its European neighbours."

At the end of 2003, there were 542 million payment (credit, debit and charge) cards in Western Europe - of which 134 million were held in the UK.

Datamonitor forecasts that credit card numbers and the total value of annual transactions in the UK will continue to grow.


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