First Data report: Card spending growth stable in March

Atlanta -- A report released Tuesday by First Data Corp., which tracks same-store consumer spending by credit, signature debit, PIN debit, EBT cards and checks at U.S. merchant locations, found that warm weather and spring promotions boosted discretionary spending in March.

According to First Data’s March 2012 SpendTrend report, year-over-year dollar volume growth was 8.7% in March, compared with February’s 8.9% growth.

Mild temperatures and early Easter holiday spending drove retail foot traffic despite higher gasoline prices. “The mild weather across much of the nation in March encouraged retailers to promote sales of spring merchandise, providing an additional catalyst to customer traffic,” said Silvio Tavares, senior VP and division manager of First Data Global Information and Analytics Solutions, which publishes SpendTrend.

In March, PIN debit surged to yearly highs in dollar volume and transaction growth. As a higher percentage of taxpayers elected to have their tax refunds electronically deposited into their bank accounts this year, it appears they made more discretionary purchases with PIN debit cards instead of credit cards.