Thursday, December 02, 2004

Consumer Holiday Charging Hits Record

LABELLE, FL. -- Between Thanksgiving and Christmas Day, Americans will
charge nearly
$108 billion in retail purchases on general-purpose credit/charge cards,
signature debit cards, and store credit cards, about 6.2% more than 2003.
According to's(R) CardTrak(R) service, consumers will rack up
$2.6 million per minute on payment cards during the 29 shopping days. On
average, households with at least one credit or debit card, will charge
$1,285 between the holidays. This does not include groceries, gasoline,
restaurant, and travel expenses.

The busiest full week is expected to be December 13-19 when
Americans should charge more than $27 billion of retail sales on payment
cards, or roughly one-fourth of the total sales anticipated during the
holiday season.

Holiday spending may add about $6 billion to overall revolving credit
in January. Last year Americans added $5.4 billion to revolving credit in
January and $4.5 billion in January 2002. Approximately 60% of the $86.4
billion expected to be charged to major credit cards and store credit cards
during the holiday season will likely be paid-off in full, and without
interest charges, during the January billing cycle. Therefore, about $35
billion in retail charges on general-purpose credit cards and store credit
cards may accrue some interest next year.

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