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Consumers Want More Merchants to Accept Plastic

Many consumers may not like to carry a lot of cash with them, which can make it difficult when trying to buy something at a business that turns out to be cash-only. Now many Americans are saying they would like to see more merchants accept plastic.

One of the most pressing issues consumers see in credit and debit payment innovation is the fact that many businesses, particularly smaller ones, do not accept cards, and 40 percent of adults say they would like to see them do so in the near future, according to a new poll from Ipsos Public Affairs. This was especially true among younger consumers — 48 percent of those under the age of 35.

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That younger demographic also believes it will rely more on non-cash payments this year than last, the report said. For instance, 22 percent said they expected to use PayPal or similar electronic payment systems more often in 2013, up from just 11 percent in 2012. While 16 percent said they’d likely make more payments using their mobile device, up from 5 percent last year. And when it comes to debit, 22 percent said they’d use traditional debit more regularly (compared with 10 percent in 2012), and 12 percent believed they’d use reloadable prepaid cards with greater frequency, compared to just 4 percent the year before.

Many of those polled — about 79 percent — said that new and varied types of payment options have made it easier to make purchases in their everyday lives, according to the report. The other 21 percent believe that the wider variety of choices — which now includes credit, debit, prepaid debit, e-payments, mobile purchases and more — have complicated the issue.

Another 34 percent of those polled also said that they would be likely to take advantage of wider acceptance of debit and credit cards, the report said. However, 26 percent said they didn’t expect to take advantage of that improvement, or of any other payment card innovations.

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Consumers are leaning more on new technology to make purchases all the time, and card issuers are now trying to meet rising demand for options by developing a number of new technologies, or rolling out those that already exist — such as chip and PIN credit and debit cards — to a wider audience.

Image: Cameron Russell, via Flickr

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