Debit and credit card spending rose in March

Debit and credit card holders were particularly active in March as Australian retail sales increased strongly over the month.

The latest Commonwealth Bank Business Sales Indicator – which tracks the value of credit and debit card transactions processed by the bank – rose by 0.7 per cent in March, which was the strongest growth rate in eight months.

Symon Brewis-Weston, executive general manager of local business banking at Commonwealth, said that while the stronger retail figures are an encouraging sign that business conditions are slowly improving, they are not strong enough to warrant an increase in interest rates by the Reserve Bank of Australia when it meets in May.

"While the latest figures appear solid, it’s important that the Reserve Bank doesn’t over-react. Interest rates have lifted sharply since late last year and the effects are being felt, with housing loans down for five months in a row," said the manager.

The news may interest Aussies who decide to compare debit cards in search of the best products. A recent report by the Australian suggested that concerns about the mounting personal debt problems of ordinary Australians may have been exaggerated.

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