Shoppers plan to trim credit card use, survey finds

The buy-now, pay-later mentality may be taking a backseat to debit cards and cash this holiday season.

With budgeting a big concern this year, Americans are expected to rely less on credit cards for their holiday purchases, according to a survey by the National Retail Federation.

The survey, which polled 8,778 consumers this month, found that 43 percent of holiday shoppers will rely on debit cards as their primary form of payment and 25.7 percent will mainly use cash, both slight increases over last year.

Roughly a quarter (27.6 percent) of shoppers plan to charge most of their gifts.

That's the lowest reliance on credit cards since 2002, the retail trade group said, when just 26.8 percent said credit cards would be their main form of payment for the holidays.

The percentage of shoppers who say credit cards are their No. 1 choice has fallen every year since 2007, likely a reflection of constrained spending habits because of the recession.

Retailers have been rolling out early holiday deals this year to woo shoppers, with discounts on popular categories including toys and electronics already hitting shelves.

Those efforts seem to have had an effect on shoppers, with 10.5 percent of consumers saying they've completed at least half their shopping, compared with 9.2 percent at this time last year, the survey found.

That said, slightly more than half of Americans (51.1 percent) have yet to begin their shopping.

In a sign that luxury sales might see a bit of a rebound this year, 20.3 percent of holiday gift-givers say they will buy jewelry, up from 18.4 percent last year.

Other popular gifts will include clothing or clothing accessories, gift cards, books, CDs, DVDs, videos or video games, toys, food and candy.

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