Plastic Gets Hot Again as Card Purchases Increase 5%

February 20, 2013
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U.S. consumers appear to like plastic again.

Last year, spending with credit, debit and prepaid cards by U.S. consumers increased to almost 5% to almost $3.8 trillion, according to The Nilson Report.

Visa led the way with 55.2% of the spending on both credit and debit cards, followed by MasterCard with 26%, American Express with 15.6%, and Discover with 3.2%. Looking at credit cards only, Visa led again with 44.1%, AmEx followed with 26.4%, MasterCard was close behind with 24%, and Discover had 5.5%.

The most popular payment method of U.S. customers was Visa debit cards, with $1.1 trillion in purchases.

In all, Visa cards generated $981.3 billion in spending, up 10.4% from 2011. Visa’s combined credit card purchases and cash advances helped it top $1 trillion overall for the first time. American Express’s $588.2 billion in credit card purchases was up 8.9% over the previous year.

Via prepaid card use came to about $390 billion on the year.

There are about 1.1 billion general purpose credit, debit, and prepaid cards in the U.S.

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