The international survey of more than 12,000 adults in 12 markets around the world (including 1,000 U.S. consumers) asked respondents to estimate their "mystery spending," or the cash they spend but cannot account for every week.
"Despite consumers' focus on controlling spending, they are still losing track of a considerable amount of money each year -- particularly when shopping or spending leisure time with friends and family - key activities during the holiday season," said Wayne Best, Visa's chief economist.
Where does the cash go?
U.S. consumers said they were most likely to mystery spend while:
Additionally, 22 percent of U.S. consumers believe that small cash purchases make it hard to track spending. "Even for the most organized spender, it can be tough to keep track of every cup of coffee, greeting card, teacher's gift or stocking stuffer picked up at the mall and paid for with cash," said Best. "While cash purchases can be difficult to track, the survey revealed that consumers believe debit cards can help them monitor spending more closely and stay within budget."
Debit can help solve the disappearing cash dilemma
Debit cards can provide an easy and effective way for consumers to access available funds for purchases. And, according to the Visa survey, consumers agree:
The period ending December 2008 marked the first time that spending on Visa Debit cards surpassed spending on Visa Credit cards; debit now makes up approximately 70 percent of Visa's U.S. transactions.
"For more than a decade we've seen a shift in consumer behavior as debit cards have taken a greater role in everyday spending," said Stacey Pinkerd, head of global consumer products at Visa Inc. "More places that were traditionally cash only -- from taxis to charities to dry cleaners -- are now accepting payment cards, so consumers can enjoy convenient access to their funds by using their debit cards with a level of control and protection not offered by cash."
Mystery Spenders Abroad
The survey data also provides insight into international trends. Heightened spending vigilance stands out as a global phenomenon while various regions showed distinct patterns in tracking spending.
Visa is a global payments technology company that connects consumers, businesses, financial institutions and governments in more than 200 countries and territories to fast, secure and reliable digital currency. Underpinning digital currency is one of the world's most advanced processing networks--VisaNet--that is capable of handling more than 10,000 transactions a second, with fraud protection for consumers and guaranteed payment for merchants. Visa is not a bank, and does not issue cards, extend credit or set rates and fees for consumers. Visa's innovations, however, enable its financial institution customers to offer consumers more choices: Pay now with debit, ahead of time with prepaid or later with credit products. For more information, visit www.corporate.visa.com
About the Survey
Ipsos MORI conducted an international study across 12 markets during September 2009. Interviews were conducted by telephone among nationally representative sample adults aged 18+ in each market. Data has been weighted accordingly to reflect the total adult population of each market (some markers to reflect the total urban population). The interviews for this survey were conducted in the following markets: USA, Canada, India, Russia, South Africa, Australia, South Korea, Mexico, Brazil, Argentina, Japan, and GCC. MARGIN OF ERROR: using a confidence interval of 95%, a difference of plus or minus four percentage points between markets is required for the finding to be significant.
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Visa Inc. Kate Mulhearn, 650-432-1113 firstname.lastname@example.org