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SAN FRANCISCO – Visa USA has reported that consumers were actively using their credit and debit cards over the Thanksgiving weekend, improving over last year’s card use during the same period. Visa said it experienced relatively strong spending on all Visa branded payment cards from Nov. 21 – 27 as spending reached $21.8 billion, a 16.8% increase over the same period in 2004. Total sales volume from Black Friday (Nov. 25) – Sunday (Nov. 27) exceeded $9.5 billion. Total Visa volume on Nov. 25 was $3.9 billion (13.9% more than in 2004), total Visa volume on Nov. 26 was $3.2 billion (16.4% increase vs. 2004) and total Visa volume on November 27 was $2.4 billion (19.1% increase vs. 2004). As anticipated, consumers continued spending in the Personal Entertainment and Travel & Entertainment categories as each realized growth of 15.5% and 21.5%, respectively. Wayne Best, Visa’s in-house economist said, “Spending in these categories, which are often seen as discretionary, is encouraging because that behavior is typically an indicator of a consumer who is comfortable with his or her financial situation.” E-commerce continues to be a bright-spot this holiday season as spending during the week (Nov. 21-27) topped $2.2 billion, a 30.3% increase over the same period in 2004. For the week, spending online using credit cards reached approximately $1.2 billion (24.3% growth) and debit topped $749 million (37.1% growth), a sign that consumers are increasingly comfortable using ready funds (i.e. debit) for online purchases.

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