Calling All Last Minute Elves: Shopping to Peak Between 2 p.m and 3 p.m. (EST) Today

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    TORONTO and NORTH POLE, Dec. 24 /CNW/ - Those last minute elves are
expected to swipe their debit and credit cards at a pace that would rival the
torrid pace of activity in Santa's workshop, according to BMO Bank of
Montreal's Card & Retail Payment Services division.
    The last few days before Christmas typically make or break the entire
year for large and small retailers," said Nancy Marescotti, Director, Card &
Retail Payment Servcies, BMO Bank of Montreal. "We're expecting credit card
and debit card transactions to reach a peak of approximately 100 per second at
some point between 2 p.m. and 3 p.m. (EST) this afternoon as Santa's
last-minute elves flock to stores in search of that perfect gift or stocking
    Ms. Marescotti noted that BMO Bank of Montreal is expecting to have
processed more than 26 million debit card transactions and 28 million credit
card transactions by the end of December, an 11 per cent and 18 per cent
increase, respectively, over the eleven month average for the year. She said
transactions processed for bank customers were expected to peak at 4 million
transactions on December 21st, the last Friday before Christmas, which has
typically been the season's busiest transaction day.
    According to Ms. Marescotti, the average debit card transaction has been
$50; the average credit card transaction has been just more than $110.
    Ms. Marescotti urged last-minute elves to get to the stores early in the
day to avoid long lines and possible disappointment. And she wished a Merry
Christmas to all and to all a good night.

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