Credit card spending 'cut back'

Santander branchPA

Cautious consumers cut back the amounts they spent on Santander credit cards last year, but also made more purchases, research has shown.

Santander Credit Cards said the amount spent on sports and in toy stores saw the biggest fall in the value of money spent, dropping by 24% per user, while travel agencies came second with a 13% decrease.
Hotels, supermarkets, clothing stores, airlines and department stores also saw declines, which compared spending in November last year with that in November 2010.

The typical amount spent on Santander credit cards fell by 4% over the 12 months, but the number of transactions made by regular users increased by 1% over the same period.
Santander said the research, based on more then a million transactions, suggested that as well as being savvy with purchases generally, customers were also using credit cards more frequently to make purchases as providers have upped competition with incentives and loyalty offers.

A Santander spokesman said debt repayments were also on the up, suggesting customers may be using cards to gain loyalty rewards rather than just for credit.

Callum Gibson, managing director at Santander Cards, said: "During times of austerity, you'd expect cutbacks to hit non-essential items like holidays and clothes, and our customer data supports this.

"However, while we've seen a drop in overall spend people are using their cards more - as demonstrated by the increase in number of transactions."

The mail order sector bucked the downward trend, recording an 8% rise in the amount spent per credit card user, while restaurants and bars, utilities and petrol stations also recorded uplifts.

© 2012 Press Association
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