A new study by credit rating bureau TransUnion shows a steady rise in credit card use this holiday season. Some newspapers are reporting this as unabashedly good news, as consumers return to credit-use levels not seen since before the Great Recession.

Marketwatch, taking some of the same data, also notes that TransUnion expects credit card use — and debt – to keep rising through 2013. Whether this is entirely a good thing or not comes down to customers’ being able to gauge their ability to pay off such debt. Nonetheless, more are planning to spend a little more freely this holiday season.

But not everyone’s doing it with credit. One consumer article in a Sarasota newspaper, reporting on TransUnion’s findings, also found that while many customers are wielding plastic, sometimes it’s just a debit card, so they only spend what they have on hand.

The article noted that many were being “incentivized” to use their cards due to the perks and extras that credit card purchases often came with — cash back, extra protections, etc. And everyone liked the convenience of plastic.

All of which means that now — and heading into the new year — is a good time to check your own incentives for customers! AVPS can help you set up “reward” systems so that your customers will keep returning not only during holiday time, but through all “four quarters” of the year ahead!

Talk to your AVPS rep today! Have great holidays and a terrific new year. We’ll be posting here throughout — so save us some of that egg nog, too!