Consumers in the U.S. are keeping their credit cards in their wallets in favor of using debit cards to avoid building up more debt, according to a new report by Javelin Strategy & Research.
Key findings of the report:
* Among the 11% of consumers who claim they have an increased ability to put funds into savings, 46% have decreased the use of their credit cards, and 51% have decreased their spending on discretionary goods, such as entertainment, travel, luxury items and cars.
* Credit card use among consumers decreased 31% between 2007 and 2009 (from 87% in 2007 to 56% in 2009); if this rate of decline continues through year end, credit card use will fall below 50%.
* The top two most populous states, California and Texas - representing almost 20% of the U.S. population - are among those in which credit card use has declined as the collapse of the housing market and rising unemployment rates have contributed to increasingly cautious consumer behavior.
* 80% of consumers cited "no annual fee" as the most important criterion when choosing a new credit card.
At Visa, the world's biggest payment network, the total payment volume for debit cards increased by 7.9% in 2009 to $883 billion while credit-card volume declined by 7.3% to $764 billion. Volume for debit cards at No. 2 MasterCard rose by 5.8% and No. 4, Discover Financial Services increase by 2.8%.
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