A steep decline in credit demand is reportedly easing.
Veda Advantage collects credit data on mortgages, personal loans, unsecured loans and credit cards.
Managing director John Roberts says applications for credit in December were down 6% on December 2007, but that was compared with a 13% drop the previous quarter.
He says a recent decrease in motor vehicle costs and lower interest rates as a result of the recession, has put more money into consumers' wallets, which could be trickling into the retail market.
Mr Roberts says it's premature to talk of a recovery but says the figures give "hope" that consumer confidence is being reinstalled.