So they use cash for cheap things.

When it comes to chapstick, gum, and other inexpensive impulse buys at the counter, nearly half of us choose dollars over debit or credit.

Bankcard-focused site asked Americans with reward cards about their preference between cash and card, and learned some interesting things…

  • 45 percent of people with credit cards don’t use them to buy stuff under $10
  • And while only 30 percent do so with debit
  • Even less (23 percent) pull out their credit cards.

The trend is to use credit cards on more expensive things, and the survey actually found what it called the tipping point: $25, or the “median purchase total at which rewards cardholders say it makes sense to use credit.”

That number gives us a clue into the reasons behind this battle between Benjamins and bank cards.

They say cash is convenient says despite living in “the age of sweet rewards card deal and easy digital payments,” people still prefer to buy “a bag of chips, a tube of lip balm or a Powerball ticket” with cash.

Why? According to nearly half of people (40 percent), it’s “easier or quicker.”

One certified financial planner said paying with a card is “slower and less convenient” since the spread of the more secure EMV chip cards—you know, where you jam your card into the reader and wait for it to tell you it’s safe to remove.

“Many people are still going to use cash because it’s so much simpler,” Pam Horack added. “You whip out a five, get your change and you’re good to go.”

But EMV chip cards also increase card security—which you should care about when identity fraud is on the rise. As reported, “the majority (81 percent) of incidents happened while consumers shopped online than at the store, says a fraud study from Javelin Strategy & Research, financial advice company. But the good news is it’s safer to use your credit card at the grocery store — for now.”

They say cash leaves no debts behind

Credit card debt scares people away and into the comforting feel of cash and debit.

The study found a quarter of people (25 percent) said they avoid credit cards for small purchases because they’re “concerned about credit card debt.”

That’s understandable considering credit card debt is up in most major American cities. As reported, “Credit card balances have increased 9 percent in Miami and decreased 6 percent in San Francisco since 2017, according to loan referral service Lending Tree.”

If you’re choosing cash over credit because debt has you worried, you’re not alone. asked 4,500 Americans how they feel about credit card debt—nearly a third of Americans missed paying their cards off before the deadline. For some good ideas, check out this interactive map on how long it takes to get out of credit card debt while making the minimum payments.

Request a free evaluation from a certified consumer credit counselor to identify the best credit card debt solution for your situation.

Get Started


Cash Crusaders are older

Within the new-ish generation, a rift is emerging when it comes to paying for the small fries— calls it a “deep cash-versus-credit divide.”

It compared results between younger millennials (between 18 and 27 years old) and older ones (28 to 37)…

  • 41 percent of younger people said they “usually use credit for purchases under $10”
  • That beats out any other age group in the study
  • And with only 24 percent saying they’d use dollars in those situations, they were also the “least likely to use cash” of the age groups.

In contrast…

  • Less than a quarter (24 percent) of older millennials prefer credit
  • And more than a third (36 percent) “typically use cash.”

If you’re finding your credit card debt to affect you so much as to keep you carrying wads of cash around, you may want to find some help reducing that debt. Financial planners and advisers have good advice and charge good money. Before heading their way, check out’s educational corner on credit card debt.

free debt analysis call 855-654-9191

Meet the Author

Gideon Grudo

Gideon Grudo

Writer for

Grudo is a freelance writer, editor, and content strategist based in Brooklyn, NY. Previously he was the digital editor of Air Force Magazine and the managing editor of South Florida Gay News.

Credit & Debt, News

credit card debt, credit cards

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Article last modified on October 8, 2018 Published by, LLC . Mobile users may also access the AMP Version: Americans Consider Credit Cards Too Big to Buy Small Stuff - AMP.