Eftpos card use continues to be higher than credit card use in the lead up to Christmas and, while credit card use is growing faster, it still has a way to go to catch up with Eftpos cards in New Zealand.
Credit card use is up by 9.2 per cent year on year, with transactions totalling just over $600 million for the past week. Eftpos cards account for over $646.8, up 5.1 per cent on the same week in 2014.
Paymark CEO, Mark Rushworth, says this flies in the face of the belief that Kiwis spend up large on credit cards for Christmas.
“We are seeing credit cards being used more, as is typical this time of year within some sectors, but it is worth noting that Eftpos card use remains the larger means of payment. And while Paymark does not see the levels of debt behind credit card usage, Reserve Bank figures show that New Zealanders are generally smart with their credit card usage, paying off pre-Christmas spending quickly – there is little to believe this year is different.”
Rushworth says the figures suggest New Zealanders are spending strongly this Christmas: “We are seeing strong transaction growth through merchants with high ticket prices such as furniture stores, garden centres and hardware outlets, plus double-digit annual growth through the hospitality sector. These figures are consistent with a generally strong housing market and a positive end of year.”
Electronic payments through Paymark increased at an underlying rate of seven per cent on last year in the second week of December, similar to the first week’s growth rate.
The value of transactions through Paymark amongst food and beverage providers in the hospitality sector was up 13.2 per cent on this time last year and up 9.1 per cent within the furniture and hardware sector. The value of transactions was also up strongly within the over-the-counter food and liquor sector but the underlying annual growth rate was a more modest 4.7 per cent.
Transaction growth was strongest within Marlborough, Bay of Plenty and Auckland/Northland.
“As we enter the peak shopping period prior to Christmas Day it’s interesting to see the patterns emerge and the volumes rise. At Paymark we know spending typically peaks on Christmas Eve and we’re already seeing transaction volumes increase in the lead up to that.”
Typically the Paymark network handles 50-60 transactions a second but currently is sitting at 75-80 on average.