While credit card dollar volume in Australia continues to grow, it has slowed significantly since the adoption of credit card reforms this year, which permits Australian merchants to surcharge customers for credit card transactions. According to data released by the Reserve Bank of Australia, growth in credit card dollar volume during May was a mere 4.5% compared to 42% one year ago. The pattern has been evident since January when the new laws took effect. In January, volume was up 12% compared to 35% one year ago. In February it was 11% for 2003 compared to 30% in 2002. In March it was 14% for 2003 compared to 34% in 2002. In April it was 6% for 2003 compared to 42% in 2002. Since March the rate of growth in card volume has been declining from 14% to 6% to 4%. Australians charged $11.7 billion during May according to the RBA. Other data released this week shows that Australians now owe a record $24 billion in credit card debt, a 12.7% increase over May 2002. Of the $11.7 billion in May card transactions, $10.8 billion were purchase transactions. Based on the figures released by the Reserve Bank of Australia, consumer households owe $1.29 for every $1.00 of earnings.