Debit's the new leader in plastic

TEXT OF STORY

Steve Chiotakis: We're set to get the latest manufacturing report from the
Institute for Supply Management this morning. That comes out in a couple of hours. And MasterCard reports quarterly earnings this morning as well. We already heard some positive numbers from Visa this week, and that's despite a continued drop in consumer spending. So why are these credit cards doing surprisingly well? Here's reporter Tamara Keith.


Tamara Keith: Paul Caldwell swears by his debit card.

Paul Caldwell: Oh yeah, every time I get gas, every time, you know, I go to the bookstore, everything.

These days, more money is spent using Visa debit cards than credit cards, because people like Caldwell spend only what they've got. That's fine with Visa and Mastercard. Both debit and credit purchases earn the payment processors the same fees.

Here's Bill Sheedy, President of Visa North America:

Bill Sheedy: Our debit volume has held up nicely, where credit volumes have been more impacted with the general economic and consumer concerns.

Now that banks are tightening credit, debit cards are more attractive to everyone, says John Williams with McQuarie Capitol.

John Williams: So I think most of the banks recognize that debit is where in the future they're going to be able to make a pretty nice amount of money.

It's all about moving people away from cash and over to plastic where there's money to be made.

In Washington, I'm Tamara Keith for Marketplace.

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