Debit and credit card transactions to top $4bn

Australians are expected to spend more than $4 billion using their debit and credit cards over the course of 2011, according to new figures.

Data released by electronic funds transfer at point of sale provider Tyro revealed that this will be seven times the amount spent in 1996, reports the International Business Times.

However, there has also been a significant increase in the fees paid by plastic users, something that may highlight the importance of going online to compare low rate credit cards carefully.

During the current financial year, fees are expected to top $1.23 billion, up from $800 million in 2008.

In a recent piece for the Whitsunday Times, founding director of financial planning firm ipac Paul Clitheroe suggested that shopping around could help Aussies to ensure they get the best rates on their credit cards.

He recommended taking "full advantage" of the low interest rates offered for those with new cards and added that paying off debts as soon as possible can also help people avoid having to pay large fees.

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