People are increasingly comfortable with the idea of using their ATM cards to make purchases, a survey by an electronic banking company has found.
In a poll of 4,000 households, Star System Inc. found that consumers made so-called point-of-sale purchases an average of 7.4 times per month in 1998, compared with 6.6 times a year earlier. That's almost double the rate of four years ago, when wary consumers used the cards to buy things an average of 2.2 times per month.
Also known as "check cards," the cards are a hybrid of bank cards such as Visa or MasterCard and traditional checks.
The cards look like charge cards, often touting the same Visa or MasterCard label. But, unlike a credit card, the amount charged is immediately deducted from the user's bank account.
High-profile advertising campaigns tout the cards' ease of use, since, unlike checks, they do not require an identification check. Growing acceptance could also be because of the increasing number of retailers who accept the cards and greater protections, which limit consumer liability when a card is lost or stolen.
Star also reported that shoppers between ages 21 and 24 reported using their ATM cards for purchases more frequently than older consumers. And more women buy things with their cards than men, the company reported.