Shoppers prefer using debit cards and cash for Christmas buying

Shoppers are reluctant to use credit cards for Christmas shopping, preferring instead to pay with debit cards or cash, an expert has said.

CommSec economist Savanth Sebastian told the Australian Associated Press (AAP) that customers were unwilling to take on additional debt, even with Christmas approaching.

According to the report, recent RBA data found that the annual growth in credit card usage rose one per cent in October, while purchases by debit cards and electronic funds transfer point-of-sale were up 16 per cent.

Mr Sebastian told the AAP that the economy would have to recover to the growth of 2006/07 before customers drastically increased credit card spending and took on extra debt.

His comments will encourage bank customers who have decided to compare debit cards in search of the best offers.

Last week, Westpac won legal backing for its decision to issue 900,000 new debit cards to customers who did not ask for them. The new card has a range of benefits over the bank’s traditional Handycard because it does not require a PIN and can be used over the phone or internet.

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