Visa USA has announced that, for the first time, there were more debit card transactions than credit card purchases during the first half of this year.
Visa USA processed 3.04 billion debit transactions compared to 2.96 billion credit transactions in the first half of 2002, despite there being twice as many credit cards than debit.
According to research conducted by Visa, customers use debit cards to track their finances, with 70% saying they have a better idea of where they spend their money since they started using debit cards and 60% are more aware of how much they are spending.
The research also shows that customers feel safer using debit cards than carrying cash (66%) and nearly half (48%) carry a debit card to avoid carrying a cheque book.
Stacey Pinkerd, Visa USA senior vice president for debit and prepaid products says: "It's clear consumers are responding to new payment choices like debit because it is more convenient than writing a cheque, safer than carrying a lot of cash, and a helpful tool in household budgeting."
The stats have been released just as Visa and Mastercard prepare to face a class action lawsuit brought by a powerful group of US merchants who have complained about high debit card charges.