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Barbadians carried out more debit and credit card transactions last year than they did in 2016.

In addition, the 2017 Financial Stability Report showed that residents performed more withdrawals from Automated Teller Machines (ATM) during the year under review.

“During 2017, the value of domestic payments continued to trend upward representing 620 percent of gross domestic product. Electronic payments experienced strong growth and were the preferred payment choice, but cash-based payments were still highly utilized, as evident by the value of cash removed from the automated teller machines and the increase of currency in circulation,” the 78-page report said.

Currency in circulation grew by 4.2 percent to $602.9 million or 12.5 percent of the total money supply which, the report said, “echoed the growth in the value of ATM withdrawals”.

“Domestic payments via credit cards were up by 9.6 percent in 2017, relative to a decline of 16.8 percent in 2016. This rebound in transactional value was driven by the personal sector which accounted for 83 percent of total transactions, while the business sector contributed 17 percent,” it added.

There were 9.1 million debit card transactions last year, which represents an increase in transactional value of 6.1 per cent to reach $1.2 billion.

This, the report said, was driven by an uptick in both ATM and point of sale activity.

“For 2017 the value of ATM transactions grew by 3.3 percent, which was consistent with the previous year growth of 3.1 percent. Additionally, point of sale values continued to grow at a faster pace than ATM transactional values, recording an increase of eight percent. However, this growth rate was lower than the increase of 11.3 percent in point of sale values one year prior,” the report added.

Perhaps this increase in point of sale services can be accounted to the leap they’re taking in technological intelligence. Point of sale machines offered by companies like Revel Systems not only allow more efficient payments to be taken, but can present menus, preset tips, as well as streamline day to day tasks and orders. You can click this to see more on evolving POS systems, which will undoubtedly increase in value next year, too.

The report, which was prepared by the Central Bank of Barbados and the Financial Services Commission (FSC), lauded the Caribbean Integrated Financial Services Inc. (CARIFs) and the Barbados Automated Clearing House Services Inc. for the increased use of electronic transactions, saying it “reflects the efficient roles” they performed.

The report added that cheque payments continue to be the largest contributor to transactions processed through the Automated Clearing House at 89 percent, “although the trend appears to reflect accelerated use of direct payments”.

Cheque transactions across banks and with the Central Bank, minus those drawn and settled within the bank, increased by six percent to $19.6 billion.

The report did not specify what months saw most of the transactions. Neither did it say what the level of overseas transactions was.

Credit card debt outstanding grew at an annual average of eight percent, increasing from approximately $93 million in the year 2000, to reach $347 million in 2017. Dealing with a debt of any kind is never easy for anyone. With that being said, neither is being in a financial situation where every day is a struggle. Whether it means taking a look at some examples of installment loans, applying for a credit card or even speak to a financial advisor, taking steps like these can hopefully make a difference to becoming financially stable soon enough.

As credit card debt is increasing, there has been an increase in the usage of payday loans. Relying on borrowing money to make ends meet has left families in difficult financial situations. Some are looking into payday loan debt relief and seeking advice on how to regain control of their finances which seems to be the most responsible way to approach the debt. Although payday loans are an instant cash injection, as they have such high-interest rates, they can leave families worse off.

“However, while it accounts for only 5.8 percent of total loans, credit cards debt outstanding and total loans generally exhibit a similar progression over the period,” the report said.

“During the period, total loans grew gradually at an annual average rate of five percent, increasing from approximately $2.7 billion to $6.1 billion,” it added.

Of the total credit card debt outstanding at the end of last year 93 percent of it is by individuals and seven percent by the business sector. If you find yourself dealing with debt, you may need a helping hand until payday. There are a lot of payday lenders available that could help you build your credit. Learn more from this online payday loans guide.

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