Survey: Shoppers shunning credit cards

Dec. 10, 2010 at 9:31 AM
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NEW YORK, Dec. 10 (UPI) -- Illinois-based TransUnion says the lowest percentage of shoppers in the history of a survey used credit cards for purchases during the Thanksgiving weekend.

The use of credit cards such as Visa and MasterCard fell 11 percent in the third quarter from a year earlier, The New York Times reported.

Many Americans want to avoid a big credit card debt after the holidays.

"The consumer really feels a lot of pressure from previous debts and they just aren't going to dig themselves into that kind of hole," said Britt Beemer, chief executive of America's Research Group, a survey firm.

The organization said a survey following the Thanksgiving shopping weekend found about 17 percent paying with credit cards, or just over half the rate from a year ago -- the lowest rate in the 27 years it has conducted a survey.

"Cash is the route I'm taking this year from past experiences with credit cards and being in debt and trying to pay it off for so many years," said Liz Gonzalez, a community-college employee in Signal Hill, Calif.

She said her debt problems started two years ago when she charged gifts and incurred debts that caused stress contributing to the breakup of her marriage.

Gonzalez said she is sticking to a cash budget of $500 this year and is buying gifts only for her two children.

Issuers of credit cards are offering promotions to get people to use plastic, the report said. Some offer cash discounts; others are offering cash bonuses for customers who spend a set amount.

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