Are people falling in love with their debit cards?
During the quarter ending December 31, 2008, people made $203 billion in purchases using their Visa credit cards. During that same period, people made $206 billion in purchases using their Visa debit cards. (You can read more by viewing Visa’s latest SEC Filing. These figures are for U.S. purchases only.)
Also, during the year 2008, the number of credit cards in use rose 2%, from 706 million to 813 million, as compared to the year 2007. Over that same time, the number of credit cards in use rose 14%, from 795 million to 905 million. (These figures appear to be for world-wide use.)
Either way you look at it, debit cards are becoming more popular. I stopped using my credit card four years ago, and I do not miss it. I’ve managed to reserve hotel rooms with my debit card, and I’ve even researched how to rent a car with a debit card. My current bank treats debit card transactions with the same security as credit card transactions.
As debit cards become more popular, I’m sure that debit card-related fraud will increase, as well. Such is the nature of how the world works. No matter the system, or mechanism for transferring money from one party to another, there are those who will find ways to manipulate that system or exploit that mechanism. Keep this in mind when you use your debit card. Be careful. Be mindful. Be smart.
I am not sure if this move towards debit cards is short term – driven by the recent downturn in the economy – or long term – signaling a move away from credit and towards paying with cash-on-hand. It will be very interesting to take a look at Visa’s next SEC filing, to see if this is a trend, or a one-time blip.
What about you? Are you using your debit card more than you used to use it, as compared to your debit card? What are you worries when you use your debit card? Do you use your debit card for online purchases, and if you do, do you feel comfortable when doing so? Do you know your bank’s debit card security policies?