Younger Shoppers Paying With Plastic

Millennials grab cards for small purchases

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.

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