24 Dec 2009

Shoppers set Christmas Eve record

8:48 pm on 24 December 2009

Shoppers have set a new record for Christmas Eve Eftpos transactions.

In the peak hour between midday and one o'clock on Thursday, Paymark - the country's largest Eftpos provider - recorded 131 transactions per second.

Paymark says the number of transactions is about 9-10% higher than on Christmas Eve 2008. Last year there were 127 transactions every second.

Two out of every three purchases in New Zealand are paid for electronically and Paymark handles three-quarters of those transactions.

Chief executive Simon Tong told Checkpoint Christmas Eve spending is predicted to be about $220 million, up from $216.5 million last year.

He says there have been more than 100 transactions per second since 10am on Christmas Eve.

"Up till yesterday we had processed $3.3 billion in December alone."

Mr Tong says Boxing Day spending will not be as big as spending over the three days leading up to Christmas.

Paymark's head of sales Paul Whiston says the figures will not be finalised until Christmas Day.

He says although the number of people shopping is similar, it's not clear if they are spending the same amount as last year.

Mr Whiston says in 2008 Paymark handled four million Christmas Eve payments.

Thieves target Australian shoppers

Meanwhile in Australia thieves are targetting shoppers over the Christmas period.

More than 40 people were arrested and charged with 71 theft related crimes during a four-day police crackdown in Sydney's central business district.