Younger Shoppers Paying With Plastic - NBC 7 San Diego

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Younger Shoppers Paying With Plastic

Millennials grab cards for small purchases

Credit Card or Cash Could Depend on Age

It looks like younger people are more likely to pay with credit and debit cards instead of cash or check. NBC 7's Consumer Bob hit the streets to see if it's true. (Published Tuesday, Sept. 2, 2014)

When Janice Montoya steps up to the cash register, there's a good chance she'll be handing over plastic.

"I just bought this drink and it was $2.50 and I used my debit card," said Montoya. 

She's not alone. According to a poll by, we are turning to plastic more and more when we go shopping. 

"I just prefer to pay credit card," said Ellis Lowe," I don't go to the bank too much."  

And this switch to plastic is happening even faster among millennials: shoppers under 30 years of age. 

According to the poll, young shoppers are far more likely to use a debit or credit card when buying something for under $5 than baby boomers.

If the purchase price is under $5, 77 percent of people over 50 surveyed preferred cash to debit or credit, while just 48 percent of people between 18 and 29 chose it.

While Dayle Peyroux isn't a millennial, he still reaches for plastic when he goes shopping. 

"Even it it's 25 cents, I will use credit card," said Peyroux, "for the frequent flier miles."

Certified Financial Planner Mary Beth Storjohann says incentives have changed shopping habits.

"As a millennial I use credit cards because I have a strict strategy in place for earning the points and I know the ones that will maximize," said Storjohann.

But some feel a reliance on credit cards encourages over spending. Storjohann says that's not necessarily the case. 

"Plastic is not inherently bad as long as you have a strategy in place for paying down the balance at the end of each month," she said.