In The Cards: ATM/Debit Usage Is Changing

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As the number of consumers with ATM/debit cards continues to increase, the way those cardholders are using those cards is changing, according to PULSE.

More consumers are getting ATM cards that can also be used as debit cards for purchases, and while those consumers are still using the card to take out cash at an ATM, the trend is shifting toward point-of-sale transactions, PULSE discovered.

"Our research indicates the typical ATM/debit cardholder uses their card about four times per week, and they are twice as likely to be making a purchase than getting cash from an ATM," said PULSE EVP Cindy Ballard. "Debit card transaction volumes in the United States have grown from 400 million in 1992 to 14 billion in 2002."

Of course, the greater number of people relying on debit cards means they have also become a target for theft and fraud.

"While debit cards represent one of the most secure forms of electronic payment, these cards and their users, like other forms of payment, have come under attack," Ballard commented. "It is important for consumers to be aware of simple, hassle-free precautions that can protect them from various types of fraudulent or other unwelcome activity."

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