Spending Trends

Debit Becoming the Preferred Plastic

Are Americans finally getting smarter about debt? The Washington Post reports that the recession has consumers paying with debit cards instead of credit cards. This spring, Visa announced that spending on debit cards increased 4.1 percent while spending on credit cards sank 14.8 percent, and the Federal Reserve announced that revolving credit, primarily credit cards, plummeted $6.1 billion or 8 percent annually in July. It's not just a recession trend either. A financial-services-research firm, TowerGroup, found that in less than 15 years, debit-card transactions in the U.S. grew from 1 percent of non-cash transactions to more than 50 percent. According to the president of consumer site CardRatings.com, part of the switch is a "kind of consumer backlash" against industry practices of increasing credit rates in anticipation of a law passed in May that will limit industry ability to raise rates and fees.