Credit And Debit Cards
Credit and debit cards have greatly increased consumer purchasing power. In the past banks were closed on weekends and you needed cash or a check with an indentification document to make a purchase. That was before the plastic was created. Now with credit and debit cards being accepted almost everywhere there is no need to carry cash or write a check. Credit cards were first used in the 1950's and were called diner cards. These cards (mostly owned by the wealthy) could only be used (with a letter of credit from the bank) at a selected group of restaurants.
What began as a luxury only wealthy could afford has turned into a global phenomenon. Debit cards did not come into the picture until the 1970's and only recently have become popular. Today, majority of the Americans own and carry a credit and/or debit card and has become a preferred way of spending. Now consumers are using credit and/or debit cards to buy anything under sun - ranging from furniture, electronics, and automobiles to something as small as a candy bar. Another reason why consumers are choosing to use credit and/or debit cards is the extra protection (not needing to carry cash anymore) and being able to itemize everything easily at the end of the month.
Also, what makes credit and/or debit cards an attractive way of spending is the fact that consumers can make purchases anytime anywhere without having to worry about banks closings. Granted credit and debit cards are great and have opened a whole new world for us as far as our purchasing power, we should use these cards responsibly and avoid running into debt. Consumer debt is bad. It is okay to put everything on credit cards as long as you pay it off each month. Once you are in a debt slump, "Un-slumping" yourself is not easily done.
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