Credit and debit card spending on the rise

For retailers, the need to accept credit and debit card payments has never been higher. More people are opting to purchase goods and services using their card and companies that cannot process these payment types will struggle to capitalize on sales opportunities moving forward.

A recent study from First Data illustrated the growth of card-based payments over the past year, leveraging information collected from more than 4 million merchant locations in the United States. The research found that credit card growth was up 6.2 percent in July compared to the same time last year, while PIN debit transactions were up 3.9 percent.

Additionally, people are spending more money per order using their cards, with the average ticket growth of 1.5 percent in July, marking the strongest uptick all year.

“It is also notable that both credit spending growth, which was 6.2 percent in July, and credit transaction growth, at 7.5 percent this month, were up significantly over June growth results,” said Krish Mantripragada, senior vice president of information and analytics solutions at First Data. “That growth was driven by the categories we’ve detailed in this report, where credit is the preferred method of payment. Consumers are once again motivated to travel, while those who opted for ‘staycations’ increased spending in home-related categories.”

Ensuring customer safety with card transactions
With more people using their cards to conduct payments, security has become a top priority. Recent incidents of card information being stolen at the point of sale has made many people more aware of the safety of their personal information, so a news story about a breach at a retail brand could have significant consequences. Rather than changing how they pay if their data is exposed, shoppers will simply find another store that has a better track record for safety.

With that in mind, many merchants are also becoming more cognizant of the hardware and software used to conduct their transactions. They want to use POS solutions that feature the latest security technology, such as encryption protocols like tokenization. Manufacturers of POS devices need to make sure they keep security in mind as they pick and choose between different software - leveraging the right solution that shores up security gaps may make products more appealing for prospective buyers.