Credit Card Use Up Nearly 10% in 2011

While the effects of the 2008 financialocalypse are still being felt rather broadly, it doesn’t seem the overall credit crunch put Americans off credit card use all that much in the long term. (Or maybe people are still making ends meet for the time being using plastic.)

While the end of that year- 2008- saw more users relying on debit than credit cards, it seems the latter has picked up in a big way going in to 2012. (Protip: If the Mayans were right, we won’t even have to pay off credit card bills.) Credit card processing service First Data- which sounds like a rather subprime credit card lender itself- has spilled the beans to the media about America’s increasing reliance on credit, and credit card use has, according to the company, risen steadily in each quarter above the previous ones. The spike was 8.2% in the first quarter, 9% in the second quarter and 10.6% in the third quarter, the company disclosed- compared with rises of 9.6%, 8.3% and 5.9% for debit cards in respective quarters.

Perhaps even less surprisingly, credit card use was even more notably up on the one day Americans seem to honor the plastic god above all others- Black Friday. Credit card use for the retail orgy was up 7.4% over the same day in 2010, versus debit cards, which were only up 3.4%. Senior VP at First Data Silvio Tavares said that Americans have felt less of a squeeze financially, and soon resorted to their old credit card use habits in the spring:

“Credit is back in favor… Consumers have spent the last couple of years de-leveraging and reducing credit card use, but during the past month- and since April [2011] — they’ve been using their credit cards more and are starting to return to pre-recession buying habits.”

Have you broken out the plastic once again in late 2011? Do you think Americans learned anything from the crashes and over-leveraging that marked the mid-to-late 00’s?