Debit and prepaid card usage could hit new records

An additional 8 million Americans stopped using credit cards in the last fiscal quarter, marking the first significant figure in what has been a long predicted stoppage of credit card usage.

Despite this, The National Retail Federation predicts debit cards and prepaid cards will be used in record levels this holiday shopping season.

In a recent survey, the NRF says 43 percent of consumers plan to use debit as their principal payment method – up almost a third over numbers from 2005, CBS reports. By comparison, credit card usage has fallen to an all time low with only 56 percent of the population using the cards in 2009.

Experts say this number could officially dip below 50 percent once 2010 numbers are finalized, the news source says. Consumers say they have been pushed away by a rise in annual fees and a desire to cut credit card debt.

Although credit card use has declined, consumer spending is showing promising signs of recovering. Black Friday and Cyber Monday posted strong sales – the latter jumping 15 percent over last year’s numbers – with many individuals paying for their purchases with cash and debit.

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