We love our credit cards. These little rectangles of plastic (or, increasingly, metal) were originally used mostly for travel and entertainment. We still use them for those purposes, of course, and certainly for shopping, as well as for cash advances and to earn rebates or airline miles. These days, they have also become common for even the smallest purchases — cab fare, parking meter, a Caramel Cocoa Cluster Frappuccino. It is hard to imagine life without credit cards.
In recent years, Apple Pay and other mobile payment options have become increasingly popular, and industry sources project that cell phones will become the next likely payment device. Further in the future, implanted microchips could supplant both credit cards and mobile payment options. For now, though, credit card use is growing.
In the first quarter of 2018, new credit card accounts openings rose 4% from the same period last year. And while only about a third of adults between the ages of 18 and 29 carry credit cards, the credit reporting service Experian reported that “the tide is turning…” — and millennial credit card balances have grown 28% since 2011. Revolving consumer credit debt, which is comprised mostly of credit card debt, but excludes loans with fixed repayments and charge card debt, stood at $1.04 trillion in 2017.
Though many Americans use their credit cards for nearly all of their purchases, there are still some items most people do not realize can be purchased with plastic. Some examples include horses, gold bullion, Girl Scout cookies, and more. With a credit card these days, almost anything is possible.