CO-OP Financial Services Reports on Payments Transactions Data for April

How COVID-19 is Shifting Member Spending Behavior and How to Prepare for the Future

Based on cardholder transactions processed by CO-OP Financial Services (www.co-opfs.org) on behalf of its client credit unions, the company finds that consumer spending across credit and debit continued to fluctuate throughout April.

Stay-at-home guidelines have caused a surge in digital payments. Inside the CO-OP Credit portfolio, card not present transactions jumped 30 percent year-over-year, while card-present spending was down 41 percent. Spending across certain categories increased over the second half of April, likely as more members began receiving their stimulus checks. However, credit unions can continue to expect lower payments volume as consumer spending patterns continue to shift.

Looking at spending within CO-OP’s Credit and Debit portfolio data, the company sees the following trends inside these essential categories (data comparing April 1-30, 2020 with April 1-30, 2019):

Online Bookstores (Amazon)
Debit: Up 33 percent
Credit: Up 55 percent

CO-OP Analysis: Online bookstores purchases, namely Amazon, continued to see a significant increase across credit and debit in April. This indicates a strong opportunity for credit unions to begin promoting their card to the top of the Amazon wallet in order to not only capitalize on this spending trend, but also hold on to transactions at this popular merchant for the future. 

Grocery Stores/Supermarkets
Debit: Down 15 percent
Credit: Down 15 percent

CO-OP Analysis: In-person transactions at grocery stories continued to decline as more members shifted over to online grocery shopping in April. The dollar amount of those purchases did increase, however, indicating a shift in consumer behavior towards more bulk shopping for food essentials.

Hardware Stores
Debit: Up 28 percent
Credit: Up 21 percent

CO-OP Analysis: Hardware stores remain open as essential businesses and have seen a generous increase in sales during April.As more members are confined to their homes, they are using the opportunity to do more DIY projects and home improvements.

Freezer & Meat Locker Provisioners
Debit: Up 17 percent
Credit: Up 13 percent

CO-OP Analysis: Concerns around a nationwide meat shortage appear to have driven more members to stock up on frozen meats. Popular supermarkets like Costco and Kroger have begun enforcing limits on the amount of meat customers can purchase; therefore we may see this trend reverse in the coming weeks.

Department Stores
Debit: Down 46 percent
Credit: Down 29 percent

CO-OP Analysis: Department stores sales continued to suffer in April. As more states begin relaxing their shutdown orders store owners are hopeful they can begin opening back up in the coming weeks. However, many are reducing inventory and shifting to in-store pickups as they anticipate lower store traffic volume.

Discount Stores
Debit: Up 9 percent
Credit: Up 14 percent
CO-OP Analysis: Continuing a trend we saw in the first half of April, discount stores appear to be faring better than other retail businesses during COVID-19. Both credit and debit transactions increased during April compared to the previous year.

CO-OP will continue to monitor trends across our Credit and Debit portfolio and provide solutions to ensure credit unions have what they need to serve their members. For more information on how we CO-OP support credit unions throughout COVID-19, please visit co-opfs.org/covid19.