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Survey: More Americans Using Credit Cards Over Cash

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — At one time, credit cards were something people only used for large purchases but not anymore. Plastic is becoming increasingly popular, even for inexpensive purchases.

Megan Supina opted to use credit to pay for her coffee order.

“I just bought a coffee and a donut,” said Supina.

And it turns out, more Americans are choosing credit over debit or cash for small transactions.

A new survey from creditcards.com found 17 percent of cardholders use plastic for purchases under $5. That’s up from just 11 percent last year.

“And that’s a significant increase,” said Matt Schulz, senior industry analyst at creditcards.com. “People tend to use their credit cards when they feel a little more confident about their financial situation.”

Another credit perk: “I can keep track of what I’m buying,” said one credit user.

Others like the travel rewards.

“You get points for travel,” said credit card user Jay Deitcher. “It adds up, I’d rather get a tiny bit than nothing.”

“Credit cards are really a safe way to go,” said Schulz.

He says some people are motivated by safety since most credit card companies will reimburse any fraudulent charges.

“Whereas with a debit card if a bad guy gets a hold of it that can be real money coming out of a real account.”

The survey also found young people are more likely to choose credit over cash, especially because many have their cards synced to their phone with features like Apple Pay or Google Wallet.

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