In seasonally adjusted terms, the number of purchases on credit cards rose by 1% from January to February, and increased by 4.34% over 12 months.

This represents an extra 2,427,000 credit card purchases month-to-month, with the total number of purchases in February hitting more than 243 million.

The previous month’s data, which wasn’t seasonally-adjusted, saw the number of purchases fall by 9% following the Christmas period.

The value of these purchases rose slightly by 0.3% from January to February, hitting $27.4 billion.

Year-on-year purchase values rose by 1.55%, indicating that Australians are both using their credit cards more and spending more on them.

Other interesting tidbits has managed to extract from the many rows of data include:

  • The total value of cash advances is down more than 20% year-on-year, falling to nearly $613 million;
  • The number of domestic cash advances is down nearly 15% since February 2018 – overseas cash advances are down 1.33%;
  • The number of domestic purchases is up 0.75% since January, but overseas purchases have fallen 2%;

But perhaps most importantly, both the total balances and balances accruing interest have declined over the long-term.

While total balances rose by a small 0.26% to $51.3 billion since January, year-on-year our national credit card balances fell by 1.63%.

Of this $51.3 billion, $31.1 billion accrues interest. That’s a decline of 0.84% month-to-month and a 4% decline year-on-year.

Debit cards also rising

Credit cards’ more responsible sibling, the debit card, has also seen a slight increase over both the short and long-term.

February saw 583 million purchases made on debit cards – this is a 1.27% increase from January and a 14.5% increase from February 2018.

The value of these purchases also rose by 1.85% and 9.35% over the same time periods, resulting in nearly $29 billion being spent on debit cards that month.

Meanwhile we’re taking less cash out – 7.33% less compared to a year prior.

ATMs – do they still exist?

They do still exist, but they may not for much longer if these data trends continue.

While our march towards a cashless society saw a mere 0.02% drop in the number of ATM withdrawals in February (9,500 out of 47.4 million), they have dropped off by 3.6% over 12 months and 21.22% over the past five years.

In fact, February’s ATM withdrawal figure was the lowest seen since 2001.