Saturday, November 19, 2005

Consumers Nationwide Prepare for "GREEN FRIDAY" - Cash vs. Credit and Debit Cards

ACEC, the Visa-funded advocacy group advising consumers to use debit cards as a tool to better budget their money got burned when reminded American's that an even better currency to budget a family's finances is ... cash.

The nation is preparing for GREEN FRIDAY in protest over the banks $25 billion annual hidden consumer tax. Retailers are asked to contribute proceeds from this $200,000,000 weekend booty that the banks will earn from interchange fees to local charities to help feed the hungry during Thanksgiving.

After GREEN FRIDAY, the campaign moves on to the winter Olympics, where Visa is a worldwide partner. Again the goal is to draw attention to the interchange fees while asking spectators to Italy to use Euros rather than Visa cards (The interchange rate in Italy is less than half the rate in the U..S.).

U.S. shoppers' reliance on credit cards drops as consumers plan ahead for the holidays.

More U.S. consumers will be leaving their credit cards at home as they hit the stores for holiday shopping, according to the "NRF 2005 Holiday Consumer Intentions and Actions Survey," conducted by BIGresearch.

While debit/check cards (34.3 percent) will remain the favored form of payment this holiday season, fewer people will be relying on credit cards when purchasing holiday merchandise (28.2 percent versus 29.5 percent in 2004). In fact, cash has replaced credit cards as the second most-popular payment method, as one in four shoppers (28.5 percent) plans to primarily use cash during the winter holidays, up from 25.9 percent last year. A small percentage (9.1 percent) of shoppers will be writing checks at the register.

"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," said NRF President and CEO Tracy Mullin. "