First Data: Lower Gas Prices, Early Easter and Tax Refunds Likely Stimulate Spending (April 11, 2013)
Lower gas prices, an earlier Easter holiday and the arrival of tax refunds, among other factors, likely counteracted any effects of increased payroll taxes as consumer spending was strong in March, according to the latest SpendTrend data released by First Data Corp., an Atlanta-based payments processor.
Dollar volume growth increased 6 percent last month year over year, up from 4.6 percent growth in February, according to SpendTrend, which tracks same-store consumer spending by credit, signature debit, PIN debit, EBT, closed-loop prepaid cards and checks at U.S. merchant locations.
Furthermore, consumers have received tax refunds that were delayed earlier in the year, which might have spurred consumer spending. March 2013 performance is particularly strong given a tough comparable to March 2012, when dollar volume growth rose 8.7 percent because of uncharacteristically mild weather, according to the report. Dollar volume for closed-loop prepaid spending grew 10.8 percent year-over-year, while signature debit and PIN debit grew 5.1 percent and 3.3 percent, respectively.