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Credit and debit card spending up at restaurants

Card transactions also rose in November, but average checks fell

The holiday season got off to a healthy start last month as credit and debit card usage and spending increased at restaurants, according to payment processor First Data.

According to payment card data tracked by First Data, whose U.S. headquarters is in Atlanta, the restaurant industry logged a 6.2-percent increase in year-over-year dollar volume growth in November.

The number of credit and debit card transactions also grew in November, with the restaurant industry logging an 11.1-percent jump. First Data noted that restaurants trailed only the service sector, which had a 16.7-percent increase, in card transaction growth last month.

However, while card transactions and overall spending was up at restaurants, average tickets fell 4.4 percent in November, the biggest decline of any industry tracked by First Data.  The restaurant sector’s average ticket also decreased year-over-year by 4.2 percent in the first quarter of 2010 and by 4.3 percent in the second and third quarters.

Across all industry sectors, payment card dollar volume growth was up 8.1 percent year-over-year in November, First Data found. Overall transactions grew 7.7 percent, an increase from October’s growth rate of 6.9 percent. Average checks rose 0.4 percent overall in November, an improvement from a 1.7-percent decrease in October, which had been the fifth consecutive month of average-ticket declines.

Another trend First Data noted was an increase in the use of credit in November, up 5.4 percent year-over-year, while consumers scaled back their frequency of debit card purchases, whose growth rates slowed to 11.4 for signature debit and 4.8 percent for PIN debit from higher rates in previous quarters.

First Data is a global technology and payment processing firm, which services more than 5 million merchant locations and more than 2,000 credit and debit card issuers.

Contact Mark Brandau at [email protected].

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