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444 million card transactions in December

444 million card transactions in December

(14 February 2013 – Australia) The "cashless society" is being rapidly embraced by Australian consumers, with a record 444 million credit and debit card transactions for December. As consumers use cards for smaller purchases, the average purchase was down to its lowest level – A$87.13, while the volume of use increased threefold on the same month a decade ago.

The average credit card balance at the end of December was A$3282.40, down 2.2 percent on 2011.

Commsec chief economist Craig James said that while Australians were wary of debt, they had embraced the 'plastic fantastic'.

'The 'cashless society' is becoming more a reality, providing risks and opportunities for retailers and financial institutions,' James said.

'Fewer cash transactions and more efficient processing of credit and debit cards could lead to increased productivity and lower costs.'

In the year to December, the average credit card limit grew 1.6 percent - the slowest growth rate in 18 years.

The number of credit card transactions in December was up 9.6 percent on the same month a year earlier. But the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) figures show consumers still prefer debit cards.

Debit card transactions increased 6.8 percent in the year to December to 36.1 million, while credit card sales were up only 1.4 percent in the same period, to 15.2 million.
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