Nearly one-third of Americans are trading in plastic for paper.
In the wake of the massive security breach at Target, 37% of Americans say they are making an effort to use cash instead of credit or debit cards when paying for purchases, according to a recent survey conducted by GFK Public Affairs & Corporate Communications and the AP.
The move to cash is part of a larger trend of people worrying that their payments will compromise their valuable personal data. Of 1,060 adults surveyed in late January, 58% said they are "extremely/very concerned" about retailers being able to keep their personal information secure when they pay through websites. Roughly 50% expressed the same level of concern about payments made in the store or through a mobile phone.
Consumers also overwhelmingly feel that it's the responsibility of the retailers (rather than credit bureaus, banks, or the consumers themselves) to keep personal information secure and out of harmful hands. Eighty-eight percent of those surveyed said "almost all/most of the responsibility" lies with the retailers who collect personal data.
While the switchover to cash may ease some people's concerns, it might not be good for the economy. Cash has natural limitations (how much you can carry around, what kinds of transactions you can make with it) and doesn't help build your credit score. Businesses also lose tremendous amounts to cash theft each year.
As for whether using cash is actually more secure, the jury's still out on that.
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