Credit card spending spiked in August

The back-to-school shopping season prompted Americans to begin using their credit cards again, leading to a surge in both transactions and purchase dollar volume.

Consumers across the country increased both the frequency with which they made credit card purchases and the amount of money they spent in August, according to the latest monthly SpendTrend report from analysis firm First Data. On a year-over-year basis, the amount of money spent on credit cards during the month increased 12.4 percent, while the number of transactions rose 11.7 percent. Both increases were the largest in a single month in more than a year.

However, even as consumers used their credit cards – and debit cards, though to a lesser extent – more often to take advantage of back-to-school promotions, they also continued to use these accounts to purchase necessities such as gasoline and groceries, the report said.

Prices for gas and groceries have been steadily on the rise in recent months, and with nationwide incomes remaining relatively flat, more consumers are being forced to make ends meet by purchasing these necessities on their credit card accounts.