As Economy Tanks, Will Plastic Fade?

Debit, layaways tempt as consumers watch wallets
By Matt Cantor,  Newser User
Posted Dec 7, 2008 10:43 AM CST
Shoppers may change the way they buy as credit-card lenders tighten rules.   (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)
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(Newser) – Will today’s wallet-watching leave a permanent dent in America’s beloved plastic? Likely to write off $45 billion this year, with billions more at stake, credit-card lenders are tightening rules and raising fees, the New York Times reports. “People are going to have to live within their means,” says a former Visa CEO. But that may be short-lived, notes an analyst: America’s addicted.

“We will see people pulling in their belts for one or two years,” he says. “And then it will be back to where we left off.” Still, while times are tough, we may see big changes in how people buy: Some retailers are touting “pay first, buy later” layaway plans, and debit-card use is likely to soar beyond credit. “This is the first crisis of the modern credit card industry,” says an expert on plastic.