Coronavirus: Credit card spending dropped 50% when lockdown started

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Credit card spending dropped by almost half at the start of the lockout, as people gambled with their finances and avoided big purchases.

A total of £ 8.7 billion was spent on credit cards during the first full month of foreclosure in April, half the level of April, UK Finance said.

The banking industry said it was the lowest level of spending since the last economic slowdown.

The cancellation of vacation plans is a likely reason for the fall.

Safety first

Consumers often use credit cards to pay for summer getaways or major purchases such as home appliances, because of the extra protection available in the event of a problem.

Many people unsure of the effect of the coronavirus on their jobs and finances would have delayed the purchase of these items, said UK Finance.

The temporary store closings and travel restrictions would also have led many to suspend these purchasing decisions.

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Some holidays or prepaid flights have been refunded to credit card accounts after being canceled, and consumers have taken a secure approach to credit card spending similar to that seen after the banking crisis. a decade.

As a result, outstanding balances on credit cards fell by almost £ 4.7 billion in April 2020, the largest monthly decline in more than a decade, as many people chose to pay back rather than to spend on their credit cards, said UK Finance. Separate data from the Bank of England also showed this repayment trend.

Eric Leenders of UK Finance said: “The Covid-19 crisis has dramatically changed how, where and when people spend their money. “

Online switch

With the closure of many stores in April, the proportion of spending on cards made online reached a record level.

A third of credit and debit card spending was spent online, according to figures from UK Finance.

The image of debit cards is more complex. With the store closures, the use of these cards decreased 5.1% in April compared with the same month a year ago.

Contactless payments saw a significant drop as many people worked from home and made fewer occasional purchases, as well as fewer commutes.

However, as the limit for contactless payments has increased from £ 30 to £ 45 and with some stores refusing cash, the average purchase using this technology has exceeded £ 10 for the first time.

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