Debit cards highly valued

According to a new survey commissioned by Visa Inc., U.S. consumers whose primary payment method is their debit card would rather give up coffee, their MP3 player, their mobile phone, email, visiting social network sites for one week than they would their debit card.

Employers issuing Visa payroll debit cards to under-banked workers not only benefit by moving all employees to direct deposit but are also providing a cash management tool highly valued by employees.  Consumers are focused on controlling spending and understand that cash purchases can be difficult to track.  The Visa survey reveals that consumers believe debit cards can help them monitor spending more closely and stay within budget.   Plus employees enjoy convenient access to their funds by using their Visa debit paycard with a level of control and protection not offered by cash.  In fact the Visa survey found that younger adults between the ages of 18 to 24 claim to lose track of $2,500 in cash annually, more than twice the average amount.

Debit can help solve the disappearing cash dilemma and can provide an easy and effective way for consumers to access available funds for purchases.  Employers can have a positive impact on their unbanked employees by providing tools to help them manage spending. And, according to the Visa survey, consumers agree:

  • Overall, debit cards ranked as Americans’ primary payment method for personal and household expenses (37 percent), which is considerably above cash (22 per cent).
  • Over two-thirds of debit card users (68 percent) prefer to use their debit card instead of cash whenever possible.
  • Three-quarters of U.S. consumers using debit cards (76 percent) agree the cards provide an easy way to track spending.
  • Three in five U.S. consumers who use a debit card (61 percent) say that using their debit card helps keep their mystery spending to a minimum.
  • Two-thirds of U.S. debit card users (63 percent) find that tracking their debit card spending helpful in sticking to a budget.

For over a decade there has been a shift in consumer behavior toward debit cards.  The period ending December 2008 marked the first time that spending on Visa Debit cards surpassed spending on Visa Credit cards; comprising  approximately 70 percent of Visa’s U.S. transactions.  As a result of these consumer payment choices, more places that were traditionally cash only are now accepting payment cards.   In fact, its been recently reported that many retailers are piloting or implementing 'No Check' policies including several large grocery chains, a move that should act to further encourage payment cards at the POS. 

With consumers preferring debit cards to cash and stores preferring card payments to check payments, employers should make 2010 the year to mandate direct deposit by providing Visa debit payroll cards

by Ty Hardison

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