Consumers relying less on credit cards

This holiday season, more Americans vow to stick to their budgets in an effort to cut their credit card debts during this time of typically heightened spending.

However, a new report suggests credit card purchases may fall to their lowest level in almost eight years.

In the National Retail Federation’s 2010 Holiday Consumer Intentions and Actions survey, more than 40 percent of shoppers said they plan to primarily use credit cards – a 20 percent increase from 2005’s numbers. Only 27 percent said they are likely to put their gift purchases on plastic, the lowest number since 2002’s 26.8 percent.

“Many families may choose to leave credit cards at home as they shop this year, making sure to only purchase what’s on their list and within their budget,” said NRF President Matthew Shay. “A variety of promotions ranging from free shipping to one-day sales will make it easier for shoppers to afford the perfect gift this holiday season.”

Early Black Friday sales suggest the offers have influenced shopping habits, as more than 10 percent of respondents in the survey had already completed their holiday shopping.