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Mintel Reports Smaller Debit Purchases Set to ExplodeChicago (December 13, 2006)– Debit purchases have experienced a boom over the last five years, rising from $421 billion in 2001 to an estimated $1 trillion this year, according to a recent Mintel report. According to Mintel’s survey for this report, 76 percent of respondents now have or use a debit card, up from 73 percent in September 2005.As American consumers become more comfortable using debit cards, Mintel reports that the tendency to use them for smaller purchases is growing. From packs of gum to lattes, close to a quarter of Mintel respondents reported pulling out their cards for $2 to $10 purchases throughout the year. Ten percent of respondents reported using debit cards for purchases under $1. With companies launching vending machines and other outlets that are more debit-friendly, the number of transactions using cash and checks is expected to continue to decline as debit cards capture more transaction categories. The increasing prevalence of reward programs is also expected to buoy card usage. At present, almost one quarter of Mintel respondents report having some type of rewards program with their debit card, and 68 percent of respondents feel that debit card rewards are valuable.