Credit card transactions increase appreciably in February

The number of credit card purchases handled by the world's two largest payment processing companies during the month of February rose sharply, extending a recent streak of increases.

Visa and MasterCard, which don't actually lend to consumers but rather simply process the transactions they complete with branded debit or credit cards, recently both announced that they saw increases in both the dollar value of purchases and the number of them during the month of February, according to a report from Dow Jones Newswires. For Visa, the larger of the two companies, U.S. credit card payment volume – the actual number of purchases – climbed 11 percent on a year-over-year basis when adjusting for the extra day in February, while debit purchases climbed 4 percent.

Meanwhile, MasterCard said that it saw the value of the transactions it processed in both January and February rise 14 percent compared to the same months last year, the report said. However, that per-transction boost was represented within a 26 percent overall increase in branded-card purchases.

Consumers who are using their credit cards more often these days may want to further protect their finances by regularly checking their credit reports for errant or unfair markings that may be having an adverse effect on their scores.