More than 50% of UK adults made an online purchase with their credit or debit cards last year, according to new 



Payments association Apacs says 25 million adults (52% of all adults and 74% of internet users) bought goods online during 2005, an 11% rise over the previous year.

The group said £2.8 billion was spent on auction sites alone last year, through 79 million transactions.

Overall, online card transactions were up from 262 million in 2004 to 310 million in 2005. The value of these transactions increased from £16 billion in 2004 to £22 billion last year.

According to the group, 49% of internet spending was conducted through credit cards last year, compared to just 6% of payments offline. About 13% of all personal credit card spending is now made online.

But Apacs also warned of the threat of internet fraud – particularly on auction sites. Sandra Quinn of Apacs said: “The internet is now very much part of mainstream culture in Britain. However, consumers must be alert to the threats posed by internet criminals, and take steps to protect themselves when shopping online. We all need to be careful with our cards and personal details.”