The Age: Credit cards are very popular in Australia

Sharon Kemp reports from Melbourne on the rapid growth in consumer debt in Australia.

Credit card companies such as Visa and MasterCard are as confident as ever. Visa says consumers have never been so debt-educated or diligent in clearing their card debt. Moreover, the global giant says fears of a Christmas blow-out in card debt were unfounded, based on RBA data that showed that for every $100 spent in December in three consecutive years to the end of 2001, $91 was repaid in January.

“Although Australians are using their cards more, they continue to use them carefully,” says Visa International executive vice president (Australia and New Zealand) Gordon Wheaton.

Separately, Bruce McDougall reports in the Herald Sun on the change taking place January 1st in Australia where retailers will be permitted to surcharge credit card transactions at the point of sale.

In a similar article in the Weekend Australian, Jennifer Sexton reports:

Ms Wolthuizen said consumers were most likely to incur a credit card surcharge on airline ticketing because of the industry structure ˆ big business with low competition. Market dominator Qantas has reportedly said it wants to charge extra for credit cards that do not carry the Qantas name, but an airline spokeswoman yesterday could not confirm the domestic and international carrier’s intention.

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