Fed Survey Finds Credit Card Use on the Rise

Credit card payments grew significantly in 2016, increasing 10.2 percent to total 37.3 billion, according to new data from the Federal Reserve today. The total value of credit card transactions was $3.27 trillion. Debit card payments grew more modestly, increasing by 6 percent in number and 5.8 percent in value.

The survey found that remote payments continued to grow in popularity — 22.2 percent of all general-purpose credit and prepaid debit card payments made in 2016 were done so remotely, compared to 20.7 percent in 2015.

Meanwhile, payments made through the ACH network grew 5.3 percent by number and 5.1 percent by value, with the value of the average network transfer falling slightly from $2,159 in 2015 to $2,156 in 2016. Checks continued to decline — falling 3.6 percent by number and 3.7 percent by value.

The data also reflected the U.S.’ ongoing transition to chip card technology, which began in 2015. The number of general-purpose card payments made using chip cards reached 15.1 billion by number in 2016, up from 1.5 billion in 2015. As the transition took place, the survey also noted a shift in card fraud trends away from in-person fraud — the type of fraud chip technology is designed to prevent — to remote fraud. In-person fraud declined from 53.8 percent of total card fraud in 2015 to 41.5 in 2016, while the share of remote fraud increased from 46.2 percent in 2015 to 58.5 percent in 2016.