Wednesday, October 15, 2003

Credit-card more popular in the Netherlands...?

Het Financieele Dagblad notices a nice article of the Dutch statistics agency on usage of credit-card as a means of credit. Usually the amounts are low and the money is paid back in a couple of months. But in the summertime, there is a peak in credit:

1998: 120 million euro

2003: 280 million euro

Meanwhile, the actual numbers of credit-cards in circulation, according to the Dutch Bankers Association, is diminishing from 4,7 to 4,5 million. How can this be?

My explanation is that the summerpeak reflects already existing lending behaviour rather than suddenly increased popularity of the credit-card. We used to go on holidays and bring our guaranteed cheques with us to obtain money (and overdraft our current accounts). Now that since 2002, this type of cheque is not in use any more, some of the lending has shifted to the usage of the credit-line with the credit-card.