Why Americans Are Picking Cash Over Plastic

cash versus credit cards
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.

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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
Holli, Chaney


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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

A new candidate for a Michigan seat on the Republican National Committee wants gays "purged" from the GOP and claims homosexuality is a "perversion" created by Satan himself.

Mary Helen Sears of Houghton County in the state's Upper Peninsula, elected vice chair of the Michigan Republican Party's 1st District last year, posted a rant in April on the Schoolcraft County GOP website -- preceded by a warning asking readers to "please use your discretion before taking any decisions based on the information in this blog."

In the post, Sears claimed that homosexuals prey on children, argued that "Satan uses homosexuality to attack the living space of the Holy Spirit" and advocated that Republicans "as a party should be purging this perversion and send them to a party with a much bigger tent."

Michigan's representatives on the Republican National Committee have lately stirred other controversy, mostly due to Dave Agema, a former state lawmaker who has regularly made anti-gay comments and has been condemned by fellow Republicans, including Gov. Rick Snyder.

Last month, Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus and Michigan Republican Party Chairman Bobby Schostak issued a joint statement asking Agema to step down from the RNC "for the good of the party." Instead, Agema's Michigan co-chair on the RNC, U.S. Senate candidate Terri Lynn Land (who had condemned Agema's anti-gay comments), resigned her seat, saying she wanted to focus on her campaign. Under party rules, the state GOP must pick a woman to take Land's place, according to the Detroit Free Press.

Enter Sears, who is running for Land's vacated RNC seat. She's, "if anything, to the right of RNC Committeeman Dave Agema on the political spectrum," wrote Macomb Daily columnist Chad Selweski.

Sears, in her post on the Schoolcraft County GOP website, wrote that Communist college professors were indoctrinating young people and claimed that Charles Darwin's evolutionary theory "gave rise to Hitler’s Third Reich, Mussolini’s Italy and Stalin’s Russia."

"If the GOP continues down this trend and stand for perversions and the daily social fad ... The GOP will be truly dead and Satan will have had his day," Sears wrote.

Darren Littel, communications director for the Michigan Republican Party, told The Huffington Post the GOP supports a traditional definition of marriage, "but we also believe that all people should be treated with dignity and respect and these comments clearly don’t reflect those principles."

The prospect of Agema and Sears heading the Michigan delegation on the RNC is apparently striking fear in the hearts of some Republicans, according to the Macomb Daily:

Apparently some Republican insiders are so shaken by the prospect of having Agema and Sears as Michigan’s two representatives on the RNC that they’re growing concerned about two mainstream Republicans in the three-person field splitting their votes, thereby allowing Sears to claim victory. When the GOP State Committee meets to select Land’s replacement, Sears’ competitors are expected to consist of Ronna Romney McDaniel, daughter of Ronna Romney, and Sandra Kahn who, I’m told, is the aunt of state Senate Majority Leader Randy Richardville and the ex-wife of Sen. Roger Kahn of Saginaw Township.

Ronna Romney McDaniel, incidentally, is the niece of Michigan native and 2012 Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney. The RNC will choose a new national committeewoman on Feb. 15.

Although some Michigan Republicans may agree that Sears' views are extreme, at least one GOP group has taken to social media to express fear that a pro-gay agenda is taking over the Michigan Republican Party.

The Delta County Republican Party recently published a list proclaiming that influential GOP pols like Priebus, Schostak and Senate candidate Land had surrendered to a "homosexual and stealth jihad agenda."

February 09 2014 at 10:23 AM Report abuse +12 rate up rate down Reply
2 replies to david36rush's comment

Memo to Sears:

People like you, who are now the driving force of the GOTP, are the reason why your party is rapidly becoming irrelevant. You, Mary Helen Sears, hold none of the values that makes this country America, you are a toxic person, and an embarrassment to our country. Thankfully, your kind are becoming extinct. Adios.

February 09 2014 at 10:25 AM Report abuse +16 rate up rate down Reply

You do realize your extended argument is attached to one about using cash instead of plastic, right?

February 09 2014 at 10:31 AM Report abuse +3 rate up rate down Reply