Shoppers put 121 million purchases on the plastic last month, with an average value of $51 each.
Figures released by Statistics New Zealand today show spending on debit, store and credit cards was up 1.3 per cent in May from April with gains were across the board for retail sector.
The biggest gains were spending on fuel, and food and liquor retailing, known as "consumables".
Statistics NZ figures for retail spending using electronic cards was up a seasonally adjusted 1.3 per cent in May after flat sales in March and a 0.4 per cent increase in April.
UBS economists said that after a couple of weak months of sales, the May figures "restored momentum" for the June quarter.
Statistics NZ business indicators manager Neil Kelly said: "Spending rose in all six retail industries during May, the first time this has occurred since October 2013."
Fuel and consumables had the largest rises with spending on fuel up 2.8 per cent ($21 million), and 1.1 per cent ($18 million) on food and alcoholic drinks.
Core retail spending, excluding cars and fuel was up 1 per cent in May 2014.
Spending also rose for the two non-retail industries (services and non-retail) in May, resulting in a 1.7 per cent rise in the total value of transactions.
Trends for the total, retail, and core retail series have all generally been increasing since October 2002, Statistics NZ said.
The total amount spent across all transactions was $6.2 billion.