Consumer Payment Card News

Tight Wads

Unless Americans pull out their credit cards and jam stores this week, the 2001 holiday shopping season is more or less a bust. With eight shopping days till Christmas, retailers have cut prices so deeply that an “After-Christmas Sale” will be a non-event. A new survey released today confirms that consumers are keeping a tight grip on their purse strings. Despite heavy promotions by retailers in recent days, a majority of consumers surveyed are sticking to their budgets with 80% reporting that they plan to spend the same or less than last year. As of December 13, 45% of shoppers reported they had completed three-quarters or more of their holiday shopping. According to the survey by Deloitte & Touche LLP and BIGresearch, 37% of consumers report they intend to pay down debt in the next three months and 27% say they plan to increase savings. In addition, 62% report paying for their holiday purchases with cash or check instead of credit, with 32% saying they plan to decrease overall spending in the next 90 days. According to CardWeb.com’s home page ‘Holiday Credit Card Activity’ tracker, consumers have charged more than $93 billion since the start of the holiday season. Nearly one billion card transactions have made since November 23rd.

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