Americans Favor Debit Over Credit for Their Go-To Card

by Sarah Grotta 0

NerdWallet conducted a survey with Harris Poll regarding consumers’ use of credit vs debit cards for purchase transactions.  The survey concluded that consumers are more likely to use debit over credit:

In an online survey of more than 2,000 U.S. adults, commissioned by NerdWallet and conducted by Harris Poll in August 2017, we asked about the payment methods people primarily use for everyday purchases, how they feel about different payment methods and whether they’ve ever had credit card debt, among other things. Here’s what we learned:

  • More than 2 in 5 Americans (44%) say they primarily use debit cards for everyday purchases, like groceries and gas; 34% say they primarily use credit cards.

  • Almost three-quarters of Americans who primarily use debit cards for everyday purchases (71%) say they have been in credit card debt.

  • About 1 in 4 Americans (24%) believe, incorrectly, that purchase activity on a debit card affects a person’s credit score.

It is true that there are more debit card transactions conducted annually than credit card transactions.  The Fed Payment Study and other sources tell us that, but what the article and survey fails to convey is that the habit is changing.  More consumers are starting to turn to credit and alternative payment types and away from debit.

The article also misinforms readers that there are no consumer protections for debit card transactions. Debit card cardholders are in fact covered by Regulation E, network zero liability protections and issuers policies.

Overview by Sarah Grotta, Director, Debit Advisory Service at Mercator Advisory Group

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