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Do Americans Use Cash or Credit More? — Dollars and Sense

Joe Raedle, Getty Images

Credit card debt may have jumped during the holiday shopping season, but a new report indicates good old cash is still our first choice when we pay for smaller, everyday items.

Javelin Strategy & Research, a market research group for financial services, conducted a study to learn how recent financial regulations have changed the way we pay for things. And in its report released Tuesday, 79 percent of consumers said they made a cash purchase in the last seven days, compared to the 65 percent of credit and debit cardholders who used plastic instead.

In addition, consumers said if they had to pay a debit card fee like the one proposed and withdrawn by Bank of America last year, most would forego those debit cards and instead pay by cash or check. Only one quarter said they would move to credit cards.

David Albertazzi, a senior research analyst with the Aite Groupe, a financial services research firm, says that while debit card usage has been on the rise in recent years, he expects people to “convert [back] to cash for smaller transactions.”

That’s a smart move for consumers but unwelcome news to banks, who earn a fee every time a debit or credit card is swiped. New regulations that cap how much they get on debit card payments could mean banks will lose more than $12 billion this year alone, so financial institutions have begun an aggressive campaign encouraging people to use credit cards instead, especially on purchases of $11 or less.

[Huffington Post]

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