As we mark one year of tracking the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, year-over-year debit and credit performance trends will now be influenced by the significant shifts in consumer behavior from the past 12 months. Accordingly, PSCU issued its final weekly edition of our consumer spending and transactional trend analysis on March 15, and a library of our weekly Transaction Insights will soon be available on the PSCU Insights page. We have learned so much about how the pandemic has reshaped consumer payments over the past year, and that data will continue to be useful as we navigate the new normal.
In the final weekly installment of our Transaction Insights, PSCU compared transactional trend analysis provided by Owner credit unions on a same-store basis from the tenth week of 2021 (the week ending March 7, 2021) with the tenth week in 2020 (ending March 8, 2020) to identify the year-over-year impact of COVID-19 on payment preferences and purchasing behaviors. Below are some notable observations from the past 12 months.
Consumers Continue to Prefer Debit
Consumers continue to choose debit as the most preferred payment method. After an initial drop, year-over-year debit transactions returned to positive growth in June 2020. For the June 2020 through mid-March 2021 timeframe, debit transactions were up 3%. Debit purchases over that time span increased 17%. During the peak of the pandemic in 2020, year-over-year debit purchases were negative for only three weeks in total.
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