A new poll suggests that cash has replaced credit cards as the second most-popular payment method during the winter holidays. However, debit cards remain the solid front-runner at 34%, the same as one-year ago. The survey conducted by BIGresearch for the National Retail Federation found that fewer consumers will be relying on credit cards when purchasing holiday merchandise this year (28.2% vs. 29.5% in 2004). The survey also found that cash has regained popularity, rising from 26% last year to 29% this year. The NRF says debt-conscious consumers will prefer to pay out-of-pocket for gifts this year and are making a conscious decision to reduce their reliance on credit cards. The NRF projects that U.S. holiday sales will increase 5.0% this year to $435.3 billion.
PAYMENT METHOD 2002 2003 2004 2005
Cash 34% 28% 26% 29%
Check 13% 12% 10% 9%
Credit 27% 30% 29% 28%
Debit 27% 30% 34% 34%