Credit card use on the rise

William Jolly By on April 12, 2019
 
Credit card use on the rise

Photo by Fabrizio Conti on Unsplash

The Reserve Bank’s latest payments system data shows a slight increase in the use of credit cards in February.

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 Savings.com.au 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.


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William Jolly
William Jolly joined Savings.com.au as a Financial Journalist in 2018, after spending two years at financial research and comparison website Canstar. In William's articles, you're likely to find complex financial topics and products broken down into everyday language. He is deeply passionate about improving the financial literacy of Australians and providing them with resources on how to save money in their everyday lives.

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