Consumer Payment Card News

Holiday Plastic

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For the first time in history American consumers will charge more than $100 billion to their major credit cards during the holiday season. Between Thanksgiving and Christmas, consumers will charge an estimated $113.7 billion to their VISA, MasterCard, American Express and Discover credit cards. The figure is 23% higher than last year due to a longer shopping season and rising overall credit card usage.
During the 31 shopping days between the holidays, Americans will use their major credit cards more than 1.5 billion times or two million times per hour. Based on the projections, the average U.S. household will rack up nearly $1,100 in credit card charges during the holiday season.

For all of year 2000, Americans will, for the first time, charge more than $1.0 trillion in purchases to major credit cards. If store cards, gas cards, and debit cards are added, the total figure will rise to more than $1.2 trillion.

Over the past twelve months the market has reached out to teenagers with the introduction of special prepaid cards such as VISA Buxx, Cobaltcard, M2card and PocketCard. Credit card issuers have also introduced the next generation of payment cards in the U.S., namely the smart card. The American Express Blue Card, the Providian Clear Card, and the Fleet Fusion Card are leading the charge by offering credit cards that have the capability to do far more than just paying for goods and services. Debit cards, an alternative to credit cards, continue to be immensely popular with American consumers as the usage of these cards is rising 35% annually.

Californians will continue to be the most active card users during the 2000 holiday shopping season, charging nearly $16.3 billion. The fastest growing states for credit card activity this year include Arizona with $1.6 billion in holiday card charges, Nevada with $967 million, Utah with $855 million, Idaho with $736 million, and New Mexico with $668 million. New Yorkers are expected to charge about $9.6 billion this year between the holidays.

For historical data on holiday credit card purchase volume and a breakdown on each state’s projected card activity visit CardFacts (www.cardfacts.com). (Access to cardfacts is limited to the news media.)

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