EXCLUSIVE: Australia's biggest bank is tracking a 29% increase in card transactions ahead of Christmas

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Whether it’s the surging jobs market, the lift in consumer confidence, or some other factor, it seems that Australian shoppers are out in force and spending big this Christmas.

It is the unequivocal message in payments data from the Commonwealth Bank obtained exclusively by Business Insider.

The Commonwealth Bank supplied transaction volumes showing that on average, the daily volume of credit card and Mastercard debit card transactions in 2015 is 29% higher than at the same time last year.

Clearly, the introduction of PayWave is likely to have reduced the use of cash but this massive increase in transaction volumes says something very positive about the state of the Australian economy.

If Australians are spending strongly, then they are likely feeling more comfortable about the economy around them.

Historically, Australians have been last-minute Christmas shoppers. This has been evident for years, and something the data shows with the peak in transactions in 2014 occurring on the 23rd and 24th of December.

It makes the surge in early December a sign of a material increase in transactions and retail activity year-on-year. As CBA says, the “transaction numbers recorded in the first week of December 2015 are already higher than the peak transaction levels in December 2014.”

We’ll have to wait till February to find out if all these extra transaction turn into a big lift in Christmas retail sales. But the signs are certainly there that this is going to be a very positive Christmas for retail spending and the broader economy.

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