April saw year-over-year increases in both the amount of transactions using checks, credit and debit cards, as well as the value of those purchases, according to the latest statistics from First Data’s monthly SpendTrend study. Overall, debit purchases that required consumers’ signatures saw the biggest increases in both categories, rising 9.5 and 9.9 percent, respectively. However, debit purchases that required PIN entry rose 4.8 percent, with an increased value of 7.2 percent.
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Meanwhile, the number of credit card purchases rose 4.6 percent, while the value of those transactions jumped 7.4 percent, the report said.
“April was a solid month for consumer spending but rising food and gasoline prices may be beginning to erode the discretionary purchasing power of U.S. consumers,” said Silvio Tavares, SVP and division manager of First Data Information and Analytics Solutions.
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Without the increases in gasoline prices, the jumps would have been far less substantial, the report said. Purchase values would have only risen 6.7 percent had those made at gas stations been excluded.
As the cost for a gallon of gas surpasses $4 in many areas of the country, a larger number of consumers have been forced to pay for these purchases using their credit cards because they are too difficult to afford.