How often U.S. consumers use their debit cards to shop each month increased last year, as did how much they bought, new survey data show.

Auriemma Consulting Group conducted an online survey of 475 U.S. adult debit cardholders in January and found that most respondents used their debit cards more often and spent more on them than they did a year earlier. Auriemma queried a similar consumer group on the same topic in January 2011.

Survey respondents in 2011 used their primary debit card to make purchases an average of 14.9 times per month, the survey data show, up from 13.9 times a year earlier. On average, consumers made purchases amounting to $454 per month using their main debit cards, up 18.5% from $383.

Some 76% of consumers have a Visa debit card in their wallet, and 71% say it is the debit card brand they use most frequently, the survey found. Some 38% of respondents had a debit MasterCard in their wallet, 26% said MasterCard was the debit card brand they used most often, the firm said.

Consumers in January said they tend to hold on to the debit card they use most often for an average of 6.1 years, up from 5.7 years a year earlier, Auriemma said.

The number of times consumers withdraw cash from ATMs with their debit cards also rose, the firm said. Survey respondents said they used their main debit card an average of 7.2 times per month to withdraw cash from an ATM, up from an average of five times per month a year earlier, according to the report.

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