Federal Reserve Says Consumers Are Using Credit Cards More

(CN) – The Federal Reserve said Thursday that Americans have been spending more on their credit cards, with online shopping and bill-paying driving the increase.

The Fed analysis, which looked at the change in credit card usage between 2015 and 2015, found the number of credit card payments grew 10.2 percent in 2016 to 37.3 billion, and that the total value of those transactions was $3.27 trillion.

That increase compares with an 8.1 percent annual rate from 2012 to 2015 and was boosted by continued strong growth in the number of payments made remotely, the central bank said.

The report says online credit card activity, including online shopping and paying bills, rose 16.6 percent in 2016.

Among the Fed’s other key findings were that total U.S. card payments — including all general-purpose credit and prepaid debit card payments — reached 111.1 billion in 2016, reflecting 7.4 percent growth since 2015.

The value of total card payments grew by 5.8 percent and totaled $5.98 trillion in 2016.

Meanwhile debit card payment growth slowed by number and value from 2015 to 2016 as compared with 2012 to 2015, growing 6.0 percent by number, and 5.3 percent by value, compared with a previous annual growth rate of 7.2 percent by number and 6.9 percent by value.

The Federal Reserve also noted a significant shift in credit card fraud. In 2015, roughly 53.8 percent of reported credit card fraud losses stemmed from in-person transactions.

In 2016, there was a major shift, with 58.5 percent of reported credit card fraud losses coming from online activity.

“This shift can be attributed, in part, to the reduction in counterfeit card fraud, the sort of fraud that cards and card-accepting terminals using computer chips instead of magnetic stripes help to prevent,” the report said.

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