Monday, November 9, 2009

Card Transactions Fall As Consumers Shop Less

U.S. credit card transactions continued to slide in the 3rd quarter, and debit card use is not rising fast enough to make up the difference. Both MasterCard and Visa reported a modest decline in transaction volume and in the number of transactions. Credit card transaction volume fell 10 percent at Visa, with debit cards rising 5 percent, and it was a similar pattern at MasterCard.

The numbers indicate that Americans aren’t going shopping quite so often, and when they do go shopping, they are leaning more toward necessities, and paying more often with debit cards or cash. The good news is that card transactions are increasing slightly in the rest of the world, possibly indicating that other countries are starting to see an improvement in economic conditions.

One reason Americans are shopping less is the high cost of motor fuel. Gasoline prices have not fallen this fall, as the decline in the U.S. dollar has put upward pressure on world oil prices.