Age seems to be a larger determinant of automated teller machine use than ethnicity, according to a researcher's national survey.

Many such studies have found that young people are more likely than older ones to use ATM cards for cash withdrawals and at the point of sale, but a recent survey by Pulse EFT Association of Houston examined activity by different ethnic groups. It found that among people with bank accounts and telephones, black, Hispanic, and Asian-Americans were more likely than whites to own and use ATM cards-but were also younger on average.

Richard R. Batsell, the Rice University marketing professor who did the survey with Analytica Inc. of Houston, said he first considered it "counterintuitive" that ethnic minorities would be more likely to rely on ATMs. Then he concluded that "a good bit of what we're talking about can be explained by the differences in age distribution."

The survey, consisting of 3,035 interviews with people in all states, found that Hispanics were most likely to choose an ATM to get cash, followed by Asians, blacks, and whites. Of Hispanics, 64% said ATMs were their most common source of cash; 47% of whites said the same.

Yet whites were far more likely to have bank accounts.

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