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Back-to-school spending pushes August card use

Consumers favor debit cards over credit

Back-to-school spending pushes August card use
Books, pencils, clothes, and likely laptops and other academic electronics, helped back-to-school spending drive an increase in August spending.

Year-over-year growth in consumer spending hit a five-month high both by transaction and dollar volume in August, thanks to back-to-school spending plus change-of-season sales, according to the latest SpendTrend report from First Data Corp.
Dollar volume growth year over year came to 7.2% in the month, and transaction growth came in at 6.5%, according to the company's monthly study. First Data's numbers come from analysis of same-store sales in its payments systems, and are based on spending using credit card, signature and PIN debit cards, and electronic benefit transfer cards at U.S. merchants.
All regions experienced increased dollar volume growth, but it was especially high, year over year, in the Midwest, which rose 10.3%--the only double-digit increase seen among the regions.
Spending at general merchandise stores rose 11% in dollar volume in August over the previous August, leading the total retail sector tracked by SpendTrend. The retail category overall saw increased spending by dollar volume rise by 7.4%.
While consumers were buying more, SpendTrend analysts commented that "Despite a willingness to spend, consumers kept within budgets by primarily spending with debit. PIN debit led all payment types in terms of dollar volume and transaction growth. ... Consumers were clearly hesitant to incur additional credit card debt."
Analysts also warned that the September report will render a fuller picture: "A slightly earlier Labor Day holiday this year may have shifted some purchases into August. Merchants will be watching carefully to see if consumers can sustain this positive momentum in future months."
For more information about First Data's SpendTrend, visit

Tagged under Financial Trends,

Steve Cocheo

Steve Cocheo’s 39+ years in financial journalism have taken him to all 50 states and nearly every corner of financial services in companies from fintech startups to community banks to regional and national giants. He is executive editor of Banking Exchange and digital content manager of Previously he spent 36 years on the staff of ABA Banking Journal and 22 years concurrently as editor of ABA Bank Directors Briefing. He is the only journalist to have sat in on three federal banking exams, was a finalist for the Jesse H. Neal national business journalism awards, and a winner of multiple awards from the American Society of Business Publication Editors. In 2017 he received three awards from ASBPE: National Gold, National Bronze, and Regional Silver. Connect with Steve Cocheo and Banking Exchange on LinkedIn. Email Cocheo at [email protected] Follow Banking Exchange on Twitter

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