Americans turn away from credit cards

May 6, 2009

Chicago (May 7, 2009)—More people leave their credit cards in their wallets these days, as the dreary US economy continues to impact spending. A new consumer survey from market research firm Mintel shows over two in five adults (43%) say they’re using debit cards more and credit cards less because of the recession.
Another fifth of Americans (22%) told Mintel they’re relying less on both debit and credit cards as they reduce spending. Overall, 83% of survey respondents report having changed their spending habits due to the economy.
“The recession has truly jolted American spending, causing people to cut back on purchases and conduct their finances more conservatively,” states Stephen Clifford, vice president of financial services at Mintel Comperemedia. “To avoid taking on more debt, many people have changed their payment habits, choosing debit over credit cards for greater control.”
Mintel Comperemedia, a service that provides direct marketing competitive intelligence, has seen the number of credit card offers sent to Americans plummet as issuers face rising delinquencies and charge-offs. In the first quarter of 2009, credit card issuers cut solicitations in half, reducing mail volume 49% from Q4 2008. Mintel Comperemedia estimates US card issuers sent fewer than 500 million offers in Q1 2009, the lowest quarterly total recorded since 2000.
“Financial institutions are adjusting their product strategies in this volatile economy,” explains Stephen Clifford. “To minimize exposure to even more losses, issuers have stopped filling mailboxes with credit card offers. At the same time, we see many banks looking to other products, like checking accounts and debit cards, for revenue and relationship-building.”
Mintel Comperemedia reports that the number of debit card mail offers nearly doubled from Q4 2008 to Q1 2009, while checking account solicitations grew by 29%.

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