Payments trends to watch for ahead of an unusual holiday shopping season

If there’s been one constant in 2020, it is uncertainty. From an unprecedented worldwide pandemic to a crushing economic downturn and contentious presidential election, this year has thrown more curveballs than any other in recent memory.

But, as we march through the final quarter of this very long year, we’re seeing a pattern of consumer payment behavior coming into focus. October credit and debit payment trends are largely in line with what we’ve seen over the past few months, providing some insight into what 2021 may bring once the political season and COVID-19 worries are in the rear view mirror.

Spending is Up, but Credit/Debit Shifts are Becoming More Common
Despite depressed volume in the early months of the pandemic, transaction volume and dollar amounts have been quickly climbing back, with year-over-year credit lifts of 17% in September and 15% in October, and growth in debit by 9% and 18%, respectively.

Year-over-year growth in monthly credit transaction counts among CO-OP member credit unions has outpaced debit since July, peaking at 16% in September before slipping to 7% in October. This likely reflects a combination of factors, including back to school shopping, late summer vacations deferred from earlier in the year and waning CARES Act stimulus relief. In comparison, year-over-year debit transaction counts have been less volatile but still grew by 3% in October.


continue reading »