Consumer Card Spending Grows: First Data
SpendTrend, First Data's monthly analysis of consumer payments, reported that consumers use of credit cards and debit cards in March grew in terms of dollar volume over last year.
The analysis of card transactions from March 2014 on its platform showed that dollar volume of rose 2.9% over March 2013, while debit card transactions validated with signatures and PINs rose 3.4% and 1.1% respectively over March of last year.
During the same period, the total dollar volume of checks and prepaid debit cards dropped by 4.9% and 5.6%, respectively.
“Despite the Easter shift to April this year, which negatively impacted year-over-year growth comparisons, spending growth in March remained healthy and positive,” said Krish Mantripragada, SVP for information and analytics Solutions at First Data.
“Gains in consumer confidence and the labor market indicate that economic prospects are brightening. We also saw credit spending growth decelerate slightly compared to prior months as higher year-over-year tax refund values deposited into bank accounts spurred debit usage over credit, and the later Easter pushed holiday-related discretionary spending out of March and into April,” she said.
The processor's survey found average transaction growth was 0.2%, in line with February’s growth. Lower year-over-year gas prices subdued overall growth, as average ticket values at gas stations were down -4.1%, which marked the eighth-consecutive month of negative growth, First Data found.
“Despite rising food prices tied to California’s drought, food & beverage average ticket growth of -0.4% fell from February’s growth of 1.0%, as weather started to normalize and shoppers pulled back on stocking up with necessities. Average ticket growth at travel and hotel merchants jumped to 1.0% and 2.8% respectively, compared to -0.8% and 1.7% last month, as shoppers’ booked more travel plans and business travel rallied,” First Data said.