Card spending jumps on back of economic growth, Paymark says
Christmas shoppers, bargain hunters and holidaymakers swiped their cards more than 100 million times last month, spending almost $5.5 billion.
Paymark, the company which processes 75 per cent of New Zealand's electronic transactions, said credit and debit card spending rose almost 8 per cent compared to last December.
The last month of the year is also the busiest retail month, with Christmas Eve the busiest shopping day.
By 1pm on Christmas Eve, New Zealand shoppers had spent more than $147 million.
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Just after 1.20pm, shopping activity hit a new record of 157.46 transactions a second, up from 2014's top turnover of 156.13 transactions.
But new figures show shoppers were swiping their plastic all month long.
Bay of Plenty, Marlborough, Auckland and Northland and Southland saw the strongest spending growth in December.
Bay of Plenty shoppers spent $369m last month, up 10.1 per cent compared to the same month in 2014.
People shopping in Marlborough swiped their cards 1.2m times and spent $69m, 9.9 per cent more than the previous year.
Auckland and Northland shoppers spent the most last month, racking up more than $2b on their debit and credit cards.
In Wellington, shoppers spent $499m and in Christchurch consumers swiped their cards to the tune of $614m.
Taranaki's spending grew the least last month, up 0.2 per cent to $112m, but no region's went backwards when it came to December spending.
Paymark said there was a range of factors that led to the increased spending.
Continued economic growth across the country, along with the Reserve Bank's official cash rate cut encouraged shoppers to spend during the silly season, Paymark said.
While lower petrol prices meant Kiwis were spending less on fuel, accommodation spending surged thanks to an increase in visitor arrivals.
Paymark figures showed shoppers spent more on debit cards than credit cards this December, with spending totals of almost $3b and $2.5b respectively.