Shifting trends in credit, debit card use

Although not widely publicized, Nordstrom and Target offer store-branded debit cards that draw directly from customers’ checking accounts. It’s not clear whether store debit cards will catch on more widely with other retailers. But shoppers on the whole have increasingly been reaching for their debit cards over the past several years.

At least some of the growth in debit card transactions is the result of consumers abandoning cash and checks. But in uncertain economic times, debit cards are also seen as a way to manage finances and avoid debt.

In 2009, debit transactions outpaced credit transactions for the first time. Here’s a look at how consumers have used debit and credit in recent years.

Total Visa transactions in the United States: