Holiday Spending Up, Card Use Being Encouraged

We realize we’re not even into the actual “Twelve Days of Christmas” yet, but already holiday spending trends are being compiled and assessed.  A recent survey from Citi indicates that holiday spending may land on the “up” side this year, after all.  According to the survey, “twenty-nine percent of Americans estimate they will be spending more than $1,000 this holiday season, up from 22 percent in 2011. Amongst those planning on shopping for the holidays, Americans will spend an average of $968, up $60 from 2011.”

According to Linda Descano, Head of Content and Social, North America Marketing at Citi,  “It’s reassuring to see spending on the rise, since the increase in Americans’ holiday budgets may indicate a more optimistic outlook towards making financial progress in 2014.”

At the same time this tentative optimism plays out, shoppers are also being told that using their cards, specifically, may have other advantages besides instilling a sense of optimism. An article on the CBS NY website says shoppers  should  “stay away from zero-percent offers linked to retailers. Instead look for zero-percent general purpose credit cards,” according to Card Hub CEO, Odysseas Papadimitriou.

The article also notes that “some plastic payment options offer other perks. American Express often doubles the manufacturers warranty on big-ticket electronics. Mastercard and VISA provide automatic rental insurance for car rentals.”

A similar article on the SurfKY website raises even more points in not only plastic’s favor, but credit’s in particular, when contrasted with debit cards: “ Cardholders can earn rewards. Paying in cash or with debit cards rarely earns shoppers any rewards. However, many credit card companies now reward responsible cardholders for using their credit cards. Some cards allow cardholders to get a percentage of cash back on each of their purchases, figures that can add up to a significant amount of money over time,” and goes on to mention additional fraud and insurance protections.

Of course, you’re free to offer your own rewards to customers for spending with you — loyalty cards, for example — whether that plastic is credit or debit.  And you can help kindle this newfound consumer optimism by making it as easy as possible for your customers to buy from you, regardless of how they want to pay, from mobile payments to online checks and more.

Get hold of your AVPS rep for more information today!  After all, you don’t want to wait ’til Christmas…!

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