All Spending Channels Except Checks Grew in March, First Data Says
Payments processor First Data says that consumers used credit and debit cards more in March 2012 than they had in March 2011 but continued to use checks less.
Year-over-year dollar volume growth was 8.7% in March, compared to February’s 8.9% growth, the processor reported adding that mild temperatures and early Easter holiday spending drove retail foot traffic despite higher gasoline prices.
“The mild weather across much of the nation in March encouraged retailers to promote sales of spring merchandise, providing an additional catalyst to customer traffic,” said Silvio Tavares, SVP and division manager of First Data Global Information and Analytics Solutions, which publishes the processor's payments trend report SpendTrend.
First Data reported that one driver of increasing PIN debit dollar volume was the numbers of taxpayers electing to have their tax returns directly deposited in their bank accounts this year. More money in bank accounts became available for PIN debit purchases.
Credit card dollar volume increased by 5.7% in March 2012 over March 2011, volume of transactions conducted on debit cards that were validated with a signature moved up 8.4%, volume on debit cards that were validated with a PIN increased 14.6%, while dollar volume on checks dropped by 2.6% below March 2011.