More people putting Christmas on credit - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

More people putting Christmas on credit

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WATERLOO (KWWL) -

Forget lay-a-way, more shoppers are using plastic. According to payment processing firm, First Data, purchases made with credit cards is up 7.4 percent from last year. Some say this is a sign the economy is improving. Credit card use declined during the recession as more people used debit cards and cash.

For the first time in the history of Crossroads Center, several stores opened their doors at midnight on Black Friday. Shoppers flocked to the deals and stores were happy to see the crowds.

"They feel that people who maybe were looking a few months ago are now buying," said Crossroads General Manager, Gary Ogzwalla.

Ogzwalla also says the trends around the country are being seen here in the Cedar Valley.

"Nationally sales went up 9% on Black Friday which is very encouraging to that. Perhaps the season will be better and we anticipate it will be better than they predicted," said Ogzwalla.

Deb Staneck of Manchester just started her Christmas shopping, but she was hoping to wrap it all up on the same day.

"We're probably spending a little bit more, but I'm trying to think of more creative things to do where you're not spending money but maybe make or recycle gifts," said Staneck.

While sales seem to be on the rise some shoppers are still trying to avoid using their credit cards saying they want to keep their Christmas within their budget.

Linda Rhoads of La Porte City says she will spend about the same as she did last year. As for credit cards, she has limited herself to just one.

"There is one card I like to use because I get cash back on it, otherwise I try to just pay cash that I've saved up for Christmas," said Rhoads.

Experts say there are certain things that are contributing to the increase use of credit cards. They include more incentives from credit card companies, more available credit, and more people just looking to indulge in their favorite things.

The number of applications for credit cards was also up in the second and third quarters as credit card companies offer more incentives and relax lending standards.

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