Thursday, February 09, 2012

Bleak Christmas? That's what credit card numbers suggest

An unusually weak Christmas for credit cards suggests the end of year spending malaise may have extended beyond retail stores.

Retail figures released earlier this week showed no growth in seasonally adjusted spending in the three months to Christmas. Through the year spending growth of 2.4 per cent was the worst on record.

Credit card application figures released this morning  by the rating agency Veda show requests for cards in the December quarter were down 9.9 per cent on the year before.

Personal loan applications continued to grow, climbing 2.4 per cent over the year.

Veda consumer risk chief Angus Luffman said the decline was unusual... “The final quarter is typically a time when there is stronger demand for credit,” he said. “Our figures support other data suggesting consumers are becoming more circumspect.”

The decline might also reflect a switch toward debit cards and impact of responsible lending laws.

In today's Business Day

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