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Credit, debit card use continued to climb in November

Jan 05, 2012 Philip Burgess

Consumers continued to use their credit cards in November, reflecting recent data from the Federal Reserve showing a general upswing in consumer debt. Such trends usually bode well for the economy, as it shows Americans are more confident in their finances. Indeed, the Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan preliminary December index of consumer sentiment showed the highest reading since June. The November SpendTrend report from First Data shows overall year-over-year dollar volume growth for credit card transactions was up 7.3 percent last month, down from October's 9.4 percent growth. In terms of transaction growth, credit card use climbed by 4.9 percent in November. Signature and PIN debit card transactions climbed 6.4 percent and 7.3 percent, respectively. Dollar volume for debit increased by 7.3 percent and 7.6 percent in each category. "Despite a good Thanksgiving/Black Friday, year-over-year spending growth was only moderate for the full month of November," said Silvio Tavares, senior vice president and division manager of First Data Global Information and Analytics Solutions. "Consumers restrained their spending until Black Friday promotions began and appear focused on value this holiday season."