December 24, 2014 07:33 ET

UK Set to Pile the Pounds Onto Their Credit Cards This Christmas as Supermarket Spend Builds Towards Festive Peak

Shopping spike comes as Nationwide announces £13m cashback bonus for credit card customers

LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM--(Marketwired - Dec. 24, 2014) - Nationwide Building Society is expecting a seasonal surge in credit card usage across Britain's supermarkets after last December saw customers stretching their finances to fill their trolleys with festive food. Credit card use built towards a crescendo on 23 December 2013 - the penultimate day of Christmas shopping - as customers performed their final dash for Christmas dinner, according to Nationwide's own customer data.

The figures are released as Nationwide announces that eligible credit card customers will share in a£13 million Christmas cashback bonus this year.

Nationwide's records show that the average customer spent £170 on their credit cards in supermarkets last December, while a quarter more people (25%) reached for the plastic compared to the quietest month of February. And despite transactions in December being only a third (33%) higher than in February, shoppers piled around 60 per cent more onto their cards, at £63.5 million versus £39 million.

While Saturdays in December generally played to form in being the busiest day for supermarket shopping, a "mad dash" for bargains and food essentials in the days immediately preceding Christmas affected traditional consumer habits. Nationwide's figures show that December 2013 credit card spending soared in the final days of supermarket shopping, with a noticeable jump in the average transaction value and volume in the days leading up to 25 December.

The busiest day in 2013 was Monday, 23 December, with customers putting more than £4.2 million onto their credit cards and spending an average of £56.50. The figure dwarfed credit card spending on the final Saturday before Christmas (21 December 2013), which accounted for just under £3.5 million and which saw customers spend an average of £55.

However, the spending pattern also indicated that while customers tend to leave bulk food shopping to the last few days, few people are willing to spend Christmas Eve up and down the aisles. The total spent on credit cards on 24 December was just over half that spent the previous day, at around £2.2 million, with customers spending an average of around £39.80.

John Crossley, Nationwide's Head of Credit Cards, said: "We all know how easy it is to spend more than we really need to at Christmas, with a range of tempting offers which are hard to resist during the festive season. As we near the big day we invariably end up in a mad dash to the shops, getting everything we might, or might not, actually need! As such, many of us reach for the credit card to cover any excess costs. Already we are seeing high levels of spend for this time of year, so we expect the pattern to continue.

"Christmas is a time for giving and as part of our annual cashback bonus offer, we're handing our eligible credit card customers a share of £13 million. This is money that could contribute towards buying a few Christmas essentials or simply reducing payments for that month."

Notes to Editors

Nationwide's £13 million Christmas cashback bonus offer will see its eligible Nationwide Select Credit Card1 and Cash Reward Credit Card2 customers benefitting by an average of £18 each this month.

Nationwide Select Credit Card customers can earn 0.5 per cent unlimited cashback on all sterling credit card purchases3.

Cashback earnings are credited back to their account each December, with the amount earned appearing on monthly statements so that the customer knows exactly how much they have accrued. Those with a Cash Reward Credit Card earn 0.25 per cent cash reward on all sterling credit card purchases4.

In addition to cashback, the Select credit card offers a 26-month interest free balance transfer period (subject to 2.4% fee - minimum £5)5. It also offers interest free purchases for 15 months and unlimited commission-free purchases abroad6.

Alternatively, customers can opt for a shorter 15-month balance transfer period (subject to 0.55% fee - minimum £5)7.


1 The Select Credit Card is available to any members who:

a. Hold a FlexOne account and be aged 18 or over, or hold a FlexAccount with a Visa debit card (not cash card or cash card+) and:

  • Have been paying in £750+ a month (excluding internal transfers) for the last three months; or
  • Complete an account switch to us (from a non-Nationwide account) using our Current Account Switch Team or have done so in the last four months; or

b. Hold a FlexDirect or FlexPlus account

2 Withdrawn to new business on 11/01/06. Cash Reward is accrued on all sterling purchases at a rate of 0.25%.

3 To earn cashback, you must maintain a main current account relationship with Nationwide: This means you must continue to credit at least £750 a month (excluding internal transfers) into your FlexAccount or FlexOne account, or hold any other current account (excluding Cash Card Account).

4 Cashback is accrued on all sterling purchases at a rate of 0.25%. The cashback will be credited to your account on an interim basis and the date of your next cashback credit will be displayed on your monthly statement. The amount credited does not count towards the minimum monthly payment. Cashback will be deducted for any purchases which are subsequently refunded.

5 Balance transfers at 0% have to be completed in the first three months of account opening and are subject to a 2.4% (Select Credit Card), reverting to 2.4% thereafter.

6 Cashback is earned on sterling purchases only (balance transfers, cash advances and payment protection insurance premiums are excluded)

7 *Balance transfers at 0% have to completed in the first three months of account opening and are subject to a 0.55% fee, reverting to 2.4% thereafter.

About Nationwide Building Society

Nationwide is the world's largest building society as well as one of the largest savings providers and a top-three provider of mortgages in the UK. It is also a major provider of current accounts, credit cards, ISAs and personal loans. Nationwide has around 15 million members.

Customers can manage their finances in a branch, via the mobile app, on the telephone, internet and post. The Society has around 17,000 employees. Nationwide's head office is in Swindon with administration centres based in Northampton, Bournemouth and Dunfermline. The Society also has a number of call centres across the UK.

Contact Information