Has the recession created a permanent culture of thrift in the United States?

The answer, according to Timothy H. Murphy, MasterCard Inc.'s group executive of core products, is a conditional yes.

"I would say that for the foreseeable future — you can't predict 10 or 20 years out — but it would seem to me at least, the sentiment-based changes that we're seeing will last for some significant period of time," Murphy said in an interview Sunday, following a keynote speech at the ATM Debit & Prepaid Forum hosted by SourceMedia Inc. in Las Vegas.

Such a thrift-based mentality could have significant implications for MasterCard and other payments companies that focus on capturing consumer spending. But Murphy hastened to add that "you could still imagine a culture of thrift in which credit spending comes back in some degree."