America Turning Cashless As 8 In 10 Consumers Opt For Plastic, According To American Consumer Credit Counseling Survey

National nonprofit’s survey shows that 80 percent of Americans use their debit card to pay for everyday purchases such as gas, meals and groceries.

October 16, 2013

America Turning Cashless As 8 In 10 Consumers Opt For PlasticMore American consumers are consistently choosing ‘plastic’ over ‘paper’ to shop for everyday purchases such as gas, meals and groceries according to a recent online survey conducted by American Consumer Credit Counseling.  The national nonprofit found that 80 percent of all respondents reported using their debit card for daily shopping expenses, while only 14 percent of respondents prefer to use cash. Of the 324 respondents, 100 percent aged 18 to 24 pay with their debit card over cash when purchasing daily necessities.

“With the increasing use of mobile payment apps, it has become faster and easier to simply swipe or scan your debit card for your everyday purchases without having to worry about cash,” stated Steve Trumble, President and CEO of American Consumer Credit Counseling. “Modern technology has made consumers rethink the way they pay, which is leading more and more to a cashless society.”

American Consumer Credit Counseling’s survey yielded similar results to MasterCard’s 2013 “The Cashless Journey” survey, which also estimated that 80 percent of consumer spending in the United States was cashless. Likewise, MasterCard’s 2012 “World Beyond Cash” survey found that 73 percent of Americans say they use less cash today than 10 years ago.

When it comes to making large purchases such as furniture, appliances and travel, respondents are less apt to use their debit card than they are for everyday purchases. Only 47 percent of respondents prefer to pay for expensive purchases with their debit card, while 14 percent use cash and 39 percent use credit cards. Of those who use credit cards, 58 percent opt for plastic because they cannot afford a large purchase at the time, but hope to be able to pay it off once the bill comes.

“The convenience of paying with a credit or debit card can often be treacherous for consumers and send them spiraling into debt,” added Trumble. “Paying with plastic often enables impulsive shopping, especially with the aid of modern technology and mobile applications. Before you realize it, you can rack up thousands of dollars worth of purchases on your card that you can’t actually afford. The best plan of action regardless of debit or credit card use is to have a plan in place to cover those expenses so you are not short at the end of the month and unable to pay your essential bills and utilities.”

Although the ACCC online survey found that men were less likely to keep cash on hand, there was no real difference between males and females in which payment method they would use for everyday purchases, larger purchases, and shopping for an occasion.

The paper versus plastic poll was the latest in a series of ACCC web surveys for 2013 that focus on a variety of financial education, budgeting and planning topics.

American Consumer Credit Counseling’s certified and experienced counselors offer a variety of financial education, counseling and debt management services to help consumers achieve long-term financial health and stability.

ACCC is a 501(c)3 organization, that provides free credit counseling, bankruptcy counseling, and housing counseling to consumers nationwide in need of financial literacy education and money management. For more information, contact ACCC:

For credit counseling, call 800-769-3571

For bankruptcy counseling. call 866-826-6924

For housing counseling, call 866-826-7180

For more information on financial education workshops in New England, call 800-769-3571 x1980

Or visit us online at

About American Consumer Credit Counseling

American Consumer Credit Counseling (ACCC) is a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to empowering consumers to achieve financial health through education, counseling, and debt management. ACCC provides individuals with practical solutions for solving financial problems and recognizes that consumers’ financial difficulties are often not the result of poor spending habits, but more frequently from extenuating circumstances beyond their control. As one of the nation’s leading providers of financial education and credit counseling services, ACCC works with consumers to help them with the best plan of action to reduce their debt and regain financial stability. ACCC is accredited by the Better Business Bureau and holds an A+ rating. It is also a member of the Association of Independent Consumer Credit Counseling Agencies. For more information or to access free financial education resources log on to or visit