Small purchases, big decisions

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Debit, cash or credit? Apparently, it still depends on the amount. A study by CreditCards.com showed that 45 percent of Americans still prefer paying cash for purchases under $10; 30 percent choose debit for that amount, and 23 percent choose credit. Credit cards tend to come out when the cost is $25 or higher.

Clearly, this isn’t a cashless society just yet; survey respondents say it’s just easier and/or faster to use bills for those small amounts. There’s another reason, too: credit card debt. According to the study, 33 percent of millennials are concerned about credit card debt, compared with 21 percent of older adults.

Naturally, CreditCards.com, a marketplace of credit card offers, advice and tools, counters with reasons that plastic is still a smart choice.

“I like using credit cards as a budgeting tool,” said CreditCards.com industry analyst Ted Rossman. “Putting as many purchases as you can on a credit card lets you track your spending much more closely than if you spent cash. I think everyone should track their spending for at least 30 days. You’ll probably be amazed at how many money leaks you uncover.”

The study was performed in conjunction with market and survey research firm SSRS and included more than 1,000 adults. Revisiting the topic in coming years could be telling. Despite those concerns about credit card debt, the survey showed that younger millennials (aged 18-27) were most likely to use credit for purchases under $10 (41 percent). With baby boomers, 58 percent prefer cash and 16 percent credit for those small buys.

(c)ISTOCK.COM/BELCHONOCK

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