Electronic card transactions in core retailing sectors rose 0.7% in March, the largest rise since October when retailing rose 0.9%.
This is only the third monthly increase in core transactions in the last six months.
Once vehicle-related items are included, transactions using debt and credit cards fell 0.5%.
Spending on travel, health and wholesale purchases also fell during the month.
BNZ Capital senior economist Craig Ebert says it does not signal a recovery is underway, as it simply recovering from two negative months. Mr Ebert says the overall trend is flat.