| November 10, 2011

Credit card use grew again in October

As the financial effects of the recent economic downturn continue to ebb for many consumers, a large and growing number are once again using their credit cards.

On a year-over-year basis, consumer credit card use increased dramatically, as did the amount being spent on these accounts, according to the latest consumer SpendTrend report from First Data Corp. Overall, credit card use grew 9.9 percent from October 2010, and the amount of money spent on those cards jumped 10.2 percent.

Meanwhile, spending on debit cards also increased significantly, though less so than on credit cards, the report said. Signature debit card transactions expanded 6.3 percent on a year-over-year basis, and the amount spent on those purchases jumped 7.6 percent. And PIN debit became more popular still, climbing 7.4 percent from the 2010 total, as the value of those purchases climbed 9.9 percent.

“Consumers continued to spend in October,” said Silvio Tavares, senior vice president and division manager of First Data Global Information and Analytics Solutions, which publishes SpendTrend. “Both transaction growth and credit card spending were up significantly; indicating consumers are increasingly disposed to spending heading into the crucial holiday season.”

However, the expansion of card transactions overall remained relatively flat from September to October, the report said. Total dollar volume of transactions slumped a bit, falling to 9.4 percent expansion on a year-over-year basis from September’s 9.5 percent. But at the same time, the number of transactions increased somewhat, to 7.5 percent improvement from September’s 7.1 percent.

Consumers have generally been wary of increased credit card use since the onset of the recession, but in recent months have increased spending on those accounts. However, during that time, federal studies have shown that credit card debt has fallen, indicating that consumers are still being more responsible about charging and paying down their debts at the every of the month.

However, not all consumers are in a financial position to do that, and may need to seek the help of a professional credit counseling agency that can help them to find ways to streamline their personal budgets so that they can make greater contributions to their outstanding debts. And in the event that more decisive action needs to be taken, a certified credit counselor can also recommend the best course of action for that consumer and their unique financial situation.

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