Debit Card Use Expected to Rise During Holiday Shopping

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More shoppers will use debit cards this holiday season, according to the second installment of the National Retail Foundation 2004 Holiday Consumer Intentions and Actions Survey.


Conducted by Worthington, OH-based Bigresearch, the survey shows 34.7 percent of shoppers plan to use debit or check cards as their main form of payment in the holidays, up from 30.7 percent last year.


The survey also found that fewer shoppers will use credit cards to pay for merchandise over the holidays: 29.5 percent versus 30.1 percent last year. Dependence on cash (25.9 percent in 2004 vs. 26.9 percent last year) and checks (9.9 percent this year vs. 12.3 percent in 2003) has decreased, too.


"Consumers have always liked to use plastic for the holiday season because it's more safe, but many consumers are opting for debit cards this year because the money comes directly out of their checking account," said Ellen Tolley, director of media relations at NRF, Washington. "Consumers started shopping for the holiday season early this year, which means they were budgeting and planning ahead."


NRF projects holiday sales across all channels, direct and indirect, will grow 4.5 percent this year to $219.9 billion. The surveyed shoppers plan to buy books, CDs, DVDs, videos and video games, followed by apparel and accessories, gift cards and toys. The average person has completed 24.4 percent of his or her shopping, as of Nov. 12.


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