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America Turning Cashless as Eight in 10 Consumers Opt for Plastic; evolve FCU Seeing Tremendous Growth Across All Electronic Delivery Channels
Thursday, November 14, 2013 7:00 AM

More American consumers are consistently choosing “plastic” over “paper” to shop for everyday purchases such as gas, meals and groceries according to a recent online survey conducted by American Consumer Credit Counseling. The national nonprofit found that 80 percent of all respondents reported using their debit card for daily shopping expenses, while only 14 percent of respondents prefer to use cash. Of the 324 respondents, 100 percent aged 18 to 24 pay with their debit card over cash when purchasing daily necessities.

Ken Walters, MBA, CCUE, CUCE, president and CEO of evolve Federal Credit Union in El Paso, Texas says they are not only seeing tremendous growth in their debit card program, but also in all electronic delivery channels.

“The days of cash/coin are dwindling pretty fast, at least that is what we are seeing within our membership, but this could also be because we are very aggressive in pushing our members to the electronic channels,” notes Walters.

As an incentive for using an all-electronic account, Walters says the credit union pays a better dividend.

“I think that as our younger members become our core membership, credit/debit/P2P/remote deposit/bill pay, etc. are going to be the norm, and we may see that as soon as the next couple of years,” adds Walters. “I really believe that anything that is of a ‘paper’ nature will be obsolete in the next five years.”

The American Consumer Credit Counseling survey also finds that when it comes to making large purchases such as furniture, appliances and travel, respondents are less apt to use their debit card than they are for everyday purchases. Only 47 percent of respondents prefer to pay for expensive purchases with their debit card, while 14 percent use cash and 39 percent use credit cards. Of those who use credit cards, 58 percent opt for plastic because they cannot afford a large purchase at the time, but hope to be able to pay it off once the bill comes.

Although the online survey found that men were less likely to keep cash on hand, there was no real difference between males and females in which payment method they would use for everyday purchases, larger purchases, and shopping for an occasion.