Nilson: Payment Card Retail Purchases Increased More Than $201 Billion Last Year

Although this doesn't shed any light on this year's recession, American consumers were certainly spending-friendly last year, having spent with retailers $201 billion more last year than the year before, according to new figures published Tuesday (May 20) by The Nilson Report.

But in a trend that might prove to be bad news for retailers, Nilson reported a sharp move away from credit card and toward debit cards. "Purchase volume on Visa and MasterCard debit cards increased by $97.11 billion in 2007. Visa's increase was $58.16 billion, while MasterCard's increase was $38.95 billion," the report said. The bad part? These figures confirm that consumers often spend a lot less with debit cards: "The average annual purchase volume per Visa debit card was $2,046 in 2007, down from $2,350 in 2006. The average annual purchase volume per MasterCard debit card was $1,715, up from $1,583."