PSCU Payments Index – December 2022 Edition
ST. PETERSBURG, FL (December 15, 2022) —
Today, PSCU – the nation’s premier payments CUSO and an integrated financial technology solutions provider – published the December edition of the PSCU Payments Index, the goal of which is to provide information and insights to help financial institutions make informed, strategic decisions on the road ahead.
With the holiday shopping season now nearly complete, mixed economic signals – a strong job market combined with continued high inflation and the expectation of a recession in 2023 – remain top of mind for consumers. In our December 2022 edition of the PSCU Payments Index, we present the second installment of our three-part Deep Dive on holiday spending, which includes the results of the Black Friday through Cyber Monday peak shopping period.
In November, consumer purchasing growth for debit finished in the low single digits, while deflating credit card growth rates posted the smallest year-over-year growth rates of 2022. Credit card growth rates continue to outpace debit cards for overall spending. Holiday period spending during October and November in the Goods sector revealed sluggish growth rates versus last year, and higher growth rates for debit over credit on both purchases and transactions.
In the Labor Department’s Dec. 13 update, the Consumer Price Index (CPI) was up 0.1% for the month of November, bringing the 12-month rate of inflation to 7.1%. The primary increase was in the housing sector, with a small increase in food, while the energy index decreased 1.6% for the month. The Federal Reserve increased interest rates by 0.50% on Dec. 14, marking five straight months of increases to close the year before meeting again on Feb. 1. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported in its November 2022 jobs report that 263,000 jobs were added for the month, showing continued strength in the labor market, as the unemployment rate remain unchanged at 3.7%. The Consumer Confidence Index decreased for the second consecutive month, now at 100.2 (1985=100) for November, down from 102.5 in October. Inflationary pressures, especially impacting food and energy costs, continue to weigh heavily on consumers in the survey. While consumers cite high gas prices in November, the national average price per gallon of gasoline has dropped to $3.23 for the week ending Dec. 12, which represents a 2.3%, or $0.08, decrease year over year.
“While consumer spending on payment cards remained positive in November, inflationary pressures continue to impact growth in purchases, which again outpaced growth in transactions. Holiday spending in the Goods sector remained softer throughout November, likely attributable to a combination of economic uncertainty and the shift to more experiential gifts,” said Norm Patrick, vice president, Advisors Plus Consulting, PSCU. “As we close out the holiday shopping season, we will continue to monitor if consumers have delayed their holiday spending to later in the season, along with where they choose to spend.”
A sampling of key takeaways from the December report includes:
- Consumer spending on payment cards, while still positive, saw slowing growth in November. Credit card results continued to deflate as the year progressed, while debit card growth remained lower than credit cards throughout 2022. For November, credit purchases were up 5% and debit purchases were up 3% year over year. Year to date through November, credit purchases were up 16% and debit purchases were up 5%. Inflationary pressures continue to contribute to growth in purchases, outpacing growth in transactions. For November, growth in overall transactions was up 4% for credit and 1% for debit.
- The Consumer Price Index (CPI-U) decreased on an annual basis to 7.1% in November, influenced by higher prices in housing and a small increase in food, which was offset by a 1.6% decrease in the energy index. The Fed met on Dec. 13-14 and increased interest rates for the fifth straight month with an increase of 50 basis points.
- Holiday spending in the Goods sector remained soft throughout November. Year-over-year growth in purchases for the overall Goods sector was down 1.6% for credit and up 1.3% for debit in November. For the five-day peak shopping period that includes Black Friday and Cyber Monday, growth in debit purchases (+1.4%) outpaced growth in credit purchases (+1.0%). Also during this five-day period, growth in purchases for select “experience categories” posted strong results, including cruises (credit +79% and debit +75%), travel agencies/tour operators (credit +67% and debit +39%) and professional sporting events (credit +34% and debit +35%).
- The November average credit card balance per active account was $2,863, up 6.6% (or $177) year over year. Credit card balances surpassed the September 2020 results of $2,787 for the third time since the decline in card balances that began in early 2020. The credit card delinquency rate for November was 1.92%, five basis points lower than pre-pandemic November 2019 levels.
The full report is available for download here or can be shared as a PDF upon request. Additionally, feel free to subscribe here to receive updates when the PSCU Payments Index is published each month.
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PSCU, the nation’s premier payments CUSO and an integrated financial technology solutions provider, supports the success of more than 2,400 financial institutions and processes nearly 7.7 billion transactions annually. Committed to service excellence and focused on continuous innovation, PSCU’s payment processing, fraud and risk management, data and analytics, digital banking, strategic consulting and real-time payments platforms, along with 24/7/365 member support via its contact centers, help deliver personalized, connected experiences. The origin of PSCU’s model is collaboration and scale, and the company has leveraged its influence on behalf of credit unions and their members for more than 45 years. Today, PSCU provides an end-to-end, competitive advantage that enables credit unions to securely grow and meet evolving consumer demands. For more information, visit pscu.com.