Bank of America has announced their approximately 67 million consumer clients made $335 billion in total payments during January, a 17% increase over January 2021 and the second-highest month of spending on record. This follows a 5% increase in total payments in January 2021 when compared to pre-pandemic levels in January 2020.
January marked a continuation of significant consumer spending in 2021. Bank of America consumer clients made a record $3.8 trillion in total payments during all of last year, an increase of 24% over pre-pandemic levels in 2019 – this included a record fourth quarter of payments totalling over $1 trillion, up 28% over 2019, as well as record spending during the November and December holiday season.
“Bank of America consumer clients continued their strong payment trends in January, following record levels in 2021,” said Mary Hines Droesch, Head of Consumer and Small Business Products, Bank of America. “Our clients’ checking and savings deposit balances were also up 15% year-over-year, growing across all levels of affluence. These trends bode well for the economy as we move further in 2022.”
Additional January Payments Trends
Bank of America clients’ aggregate credit and debit card spending reached $65 billion in January, up 16% compared to January 2021.
Spending on credit cards grew 28% compared to January 2021 as spending on travel, retail and food strengthened from suppressed levels early last year.
Looking more closely at travel, credit card spending increased by nearly 120% year-over-year, a sign of consumers’ willingness to book future travel plans. Air travel saw an increase of over 160% year-over-year across all age cohorts; meanwhile, hotel and home-sharing spend grew over 75% – with Boomers+ leading hotel spending, and Gen Z and Millennials leading home-sharing spending.
For the month of January, credit and debit card spending by lower-income consumers (<$50K) was up 7% over January 2021. This follows accelerated growth of 23% year-over-year the previous year (January 2021 vs January 2020), a period during which consumers received Economic Impact Payments.
Among consumers with an average deposit balance of less than $2,000 before the pandemic, balances were up 1% in January 2022 compared to December 2021, and up 5 times their pre-pandemic balance, on average.
Credit and debit card spending by clients in higher income brackets ($100K+) continued to grow, up 23% in January 2022 vs. January 2021, with outsized spending on travel and entertainment and elevated growth in spending at retailers. This marks a healthy rebound following a slight decrease in January 2021 vs. January 2020.
Payment activity by cash and checks was down 7% year-over-year as clients continued to transition to more convenient, digital forms of payment. The number of payments sent using Zelle surpassed checks written by Bank of America clients in 2021, and are 20% higher in January 2022.
Bank of America is a provider of choice for individuals and businesses when paying for goods and services. The company’s award-winning and easy-to-use capabilities help clients budget, save, spend and borrow carefully and confidently. Bank of America reviews aggregate activity across its vast client base to discern important payments trends, including debit and credit spending. Going forward, Bank of America will share insights into consumer payments trends on a monthly basis.