Plastic pays for bread and milk, Morgan Stanley Credit Cards finds

05 May 2005
Credit cards are increasingly taking the place of small change as holders use them to pay for everyday items such as bread and milk, according to new research from Morgan Stanley Credit Cards.

The latest Morgan Stanley Card Index has revealed that almost half (44 per cent) of most credit card balances is taken up with small-scale purchases such as groceries, petrol and household items.

The over fifties are most likely to use their credit cards for this purpose, Morgan Stanley found, with people in this age group likely to put half their spending on everyday and household goods on the plastic over the next three months.

The findings indicate a change in the way people use credit cards, seeing them as an integral part of their spending routine and clearing their balances more quickly - in the first quarter of 2005, British credit card holders cleared an average of more than three-quarters (76 per cent) from their balances.

"Credit cards have changed enormously over the years and so has the way that people use them," said Patrick Muir.

"With the majority of credit card balances cleared in full every month, Britons are increasingly more likely to shop around and see how they can be rewarded for their spending."

Women are most likely to put their small items on the plastic - half the value of all credit card purchases made by women over the next three months are likely to relate to food shopping and home and car purchases, whilst the other half will pay for clothes, travel and nights out.

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