Caution noted: Consumers reducing discretionary spending while increasingly resorting to credit for necessities.
First Data says the pace of consumer payments slowed significantly in April over the pace during the first quarter of the year.
The percentage of payments made by check keeps slipping.
First Data's monthly analysis of card transaction data suggests consumers used their cards more in December 2011 than they did in December 2010, but that they spent only the same or less money.
Even though the weekend after the Thanksgiving holiday last year had pretty strong sales volume, card processor First Data reported that the same weekend this year posted even stronger sales gains.
Consumers spent more on their credit and debit cards in September 2011 than they did in the same month last year, according to card processor First Data. But the firm credited inflated prices for the increase rather than an increase in purchases.
First Data Corp. says consumers spent more on their credit and debit cards in September 2011 than they did in the same month last year but the firm credited inflated prices for the increase rather than an increase in purchases.
Consumers still used their credit and debit cards in May, but more slowly than they have been.
Consumers were still shopping in April, though they were starting to look over their shoulders at rising gasoline prices, according to First Data's SpendTrend report.
First Data Corp. said today its monthly SpendTrend report found consumer spending uniformly up in March despite a late Easter and rising gas prices.