By Jim Donovan

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — How much money do you keep in your wallet?  As 3 On Your Side Consumer Reporter Jim Donovan finds, Americans are carrying less cash these days, and it’s by choice.

How do you pay for your morning coffee?  How about your groceries or a tank of gas?  A new survey of consumers by Bankrate finds Americans with increasingly lighter wallets and that’s by choice.

With more options to pay by credit card, debit card, or smartphone app, Bankrate found 78 percent of consumers carry less than $50 in cash with them on a daily basis.   40 percent carry less than $20 in cash and 9 percent said they don’t carry any cash at all.

Shereen Haaga always pays with plastic.  She says, “it’s just easier, I never have cash.”

According to Greg McBride of Bankrate, “People like the convenience of plastic and more transactions are going to continue to migrate that way.”

To keep certain transactions secure, Bankrate recommends using credit cards versus a debit card as credit cards offer consumers greater protection in the event of fraud.  When making a debit transaction, opt to use a signature instead of a p-i-n number and switch-out passwords frequently and vary them.  Using the same one for online accounts and payment apps can leave you vulnerable if a hacker gets access to even one account.

By the way, the survey also looked at gender and found that 86 percent of women carry less than $50 on a daily basis compared to only 70 percent of men.

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