Why Americans Are Picking Cash Over Plastic

×
cash versus credit cards
AP
By Anna Williams

The "all-cash diet" is usually one of the strategies consumers take on when they want to cut down on credit card debt. But this year, more Americans are trading in their plastic for an entirely different reason.

The new motivation? Security. An Associated Press-GfK poll finds that 37 percent of Americans are now making an effort to use cash instead of credit or debit cards as a result of the recent widespread data breaches.

Overall, the poll found growing public concern about the safety of cards: Almost half of Americans now say that they are "extremely or very concerned" about a store's ability to protect personal information. Of course, their concern isn't unfounded: In December, hackers gained access to the accounts of roughly 40 million customers who had swiped their cards at Target (TGT). It was later discovered that similar breaches also occurred at Neiman Marcus and Michael's stores.

Still, there are downsides to an all-cash existence:
LearnVest often recommends that the strategy only be used temporarily for those serious about paying down debt, as credit card use is one of the easiest ways to build your credit. Cash is also easier to lose track of in your budget (although LearnVest's free Money Center, available through the free LearnVest app, lets you add cash transactions on the go).

For a less extreme way to help protect yourself against identity theft, make sure to monitor your spending with a daily Money Minute to keep an eye out for any unusual charges. Also make sure to check your free credit report on a regular basis and update your passwords routinely.


More from LearnVest


Target To Fast-Track Smartcard Tech After Data Breaches

Increase your money and finance knowledge from home

How Financial Planners go Grocery Shopping

Learn to shop smart and save.

View Course »

How to Avoid Financial Scams

Avoid getting duped by financial scams.

View Course »

Add a Comment

*0 / 3000 Character Maximum

41 Comments

Filter by:
commandercannonk

i'm only off for the day, you are off daily.... :)

February 10 2014 at 5:59 AM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply
militiaman2013

When hyper inflation takes hold in the near future, the large Banks will fail as they won't be able to meet withdrawal demand. Yes, the Fed will take over however the Fed does not have enough cash to cover all of the current deposits and those depositor's will be wiped out.

February 09 2014 at 8:20 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
Holli, Chaney

DAVE RAMSEY.. GET DEBT FREE...

February 09 2014 at 6:20 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Holli, Chaney's comment
Holli, Chaney

We have been workigng on gettiung debt free.

February 09 2014 at 6:21 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
toosmart4u

chitt, when are you going to learn to think for yourself. Tea party is the worst thing that has happened to this congress. We must send the republicans home in the next election. Republicans do not work for the country they work for their own party. Take a look at the red states, low wages no benefits and plenty of republicans. Remember, you get what you vote for and for the GOP you will get nothing.

February 09 2014 at 2:45 PM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply
dave.wallace4

We need less Nancy Pelosi's and Alan Grayson's. We also need less Mike Lee's and Ted Cruz's.

And we CERTAINLY need less chitt's and Loon Aticlib's.

America would be a much better place without them.

February 09 2014 at 2:35 PM Report abuse +7 rate up rate down Reply
dave.wallace4

So my entire life I vote Republican, and two people here, who I don't know, declare I'm not, just because they say so.

We are in bigger trouble than I thought.

February 09 2014 at 1:32 PM Report abuse +10 rate up rate down Reply
dave.wallace4

And another thing, I'm getting really tired of the minority on the far right telling me I'm not a Republican because I don't agree with their extreme views.

Enough already.

February 09 2014 at 1:27 PM Report abuse +6 rate up rate down Reply
hdprent

I would like to see the Gay and abortion issue put aside and instead work on solving the primary problem that being financial responsibility. The Tea party has it right but you won't find it in the Dems. or Republicans.

February 09 2014 at 1:27 PM Report abuse +3 rate up rate down Reply
dave.wallace4

redstateredneck.hillbilly.

Did you see what I wrote to Loon?

I'm sure Democrats don't appreciate your antics either.

February 09 2014 at 1:11 PM Report abuse +11 rate up rate down Reply
dave.wallace4

I'm a registered Republican, my son is a registered Democrat. He's quite successful, has a nice home and family. We don't see eye to eye on politics, but the ridiculous notion that people we don't agree with are moochers has to stop. I'd like to win some elections for a change.

February 09 2014 at 12:55 PM Report abuse +13 rate up rate down Reply