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NilsonReport-US-General-Purpose-Cards-2012-v-2011-Feb2013While a recent comScore report shows that consumer awareness and usage of digital wallets remains low, there are no such issues in the general purpose card market, per the latest figures from The Nilson Report. Americans used credit, debit and prepaid cards to make almost $3.8 trillion in purchases at merchants last year, representing a 5% increase from 2011. Almost 60% of that spending was made using credit cards, with Visa cards accounting for about 44% share of that total, or $981 billion. Spending using Visa debit and prepaid cards was even larger, at more than $1 trillion.

Meanwhile, the number of transactions also increased, by 3.3%, indicating that the average dollar amount of each purchase also grew in 2012.

Total credit cards in circulation increased by 3.4% to 537 million, while the number of debit cards in circulation rose by 8.7% to 560 million. All told, then, the number of purchase cards in circulation grew by 6% to more than 1 billion. That means there were roughly 3 cards in circulation for every American last year.

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