FedUpUSA

Consumers Shun Credit Cards – Credit Card Usage Drops, Debit Card Usage Rises

 

Consumers have had enough of high interest rates on credit cards but its a case of one plastic for another. Bloomberg reports Cardholders Prefer Debit as Credit-Card Use Falls

Americans are shunning their credit cards and using debit to avoid incurring more debt, said Javelin Strategy & Research.

Total payment volume for debit cards surpassed credit-card volume for the first time in 2009 and will continue to eclipse it in 2010, according to a report released today by the Pleasanton, California-based market-research firm that specializes in financial services.

At San Francisco-based Visa Inc., the world’s biggest payments network, the total payment volume for debit cards increased by 7.9 percent in 2009 to $883 billion as credit-card volume declined by 7.3 percent to $764 billion. Volume for debit cards at No. 2 MasterCard Inc. in Purchase, New York, rose by 5.8 percent and 2.8 percent at No. 4 Riverwoods, Illinois-based Discover Financial Services.

Fifty-six percent of consumers said they had used a credit card in the past month compared with 87 percent who said they had in 2007, according to the study, which surveyed 3,294 people in November 2009 for that question. Other findings were based on data collected online from 5,211 respondents in March 2010 and 5,000 consumers in November 2009. If the rate of decline continues, 45 percent of consumers will reach for a credit card in 2010, the study said.

Long-Term Shift

Another cause for reduced credit-card use is financial reform aimed at protecting consumers, which has decreased the number of new cards given and cut available spending limits, the Javelin report said. Federal legislation that limits overdraft fees, caps on fees banks charge merchants for debit-card transactions and credit-card legislation mean banks have to recoup losses and are only giving cards to the most creditworthy borrowers, the study said.

Younger people also favor debit over credit because of the immediate nature of making a payment, which means the shift to debit will be long-term, said Van Dyke. And since younger cardholders favor the convenience of debit cards, they won’t turn to cash or checks, he said.

Purchase transactions generated by credit and debit cards in the U.S. totaled more than 27 billion from Jan. 1 through June 30, according to the Nilson Report, an industry newsletter in Carpinteria, California. Debit-card purchases accounted for 65 percent of all sales, up from 62.3 percent, the Nilson Report said.

Total Revolving Credit

Revolving Credit Percent Change From Year Ago

Reasons For Decline In Credit Usage

  • Bankruptcies
  • Other Loan Writeoffs
  • Consumers Paying Down Debt
  • Increasing Favoritism Towards Debit Cards
  • Gift Cards
  • Bank Lending Standards Increase

Unprecedented Drop in Revolving Credit

This is all part of an overall secular shift in consumer attitudes towards credit and debt, and bank attitudes towards lending. It’s a good thing but Bernanke will not see it that way.

Mike “Mish” Shedlock
http://globaleconomicanalysis.blogspot.com