Cash is dead: Study indicates growing number of consumers prefer plastic

Using cash to complete everyday transactions is quickly becoming a thing of the past for many of today's consumers. Whether making a significant purchase or simply buying a cup of coffee, more and more people are turning to plastic instead of carrying around cold hard cash - particularly younger individuals. While this change in paying habits may simply be a sign of the times, individuals using credit cards nevertheless need to be wary as debt can quickly mount.

Despite the fact that credit cards have been around for decades, a recent survey has found that it is becoming more common for individuals to use cards for small purchases. Specifically, the survey, which was conducted by CreditCards.com, questioned nearly 1,000 individuals regarding their spending habits when it comes to making purchases of $5 or less.

The survey discovered that consumers ages 18-29 actually prefer to use plastic - including both credit and debit cards - over cash to make small purchases. Even though the preference for using cash increases with age, the survey still determined that roughly one-third of all respondents, regardless of age, favor the use of credit or debit cards for small purchases.

Credit card debt and bankruptcy

While credit cards are certainly convenient, these can also be quite dangerous if the cardholder does not manage debt properly. Fortunately, people struggling with credit card debt do have options available, such as filing bankruptcy.

Indeed, credit card debt is one of the leading causes of bankruptcy in the U.S. - and for good reason. An individual is typically able to discharge all unsecured credit card debt by filing Chapter 7 bankruptcy, meaning the debt is wiped out.

It is important to note, however, that individuals should avoid using credit cards during the months leading up to bankruptcy. In fact, if a person charges a large amount on "luxury goods or services" or takes out significant cash advances immediately before filing bankruptcy, the credit card company may attempt to claim these charges were made fraudulently and thus should not be discharged. Typically, expert legal guidance can help avoid these potential pitfalls.

Assistance is often needed during bankruptcy

Many people have little choice when it comes to reliance upon credit cards. For example, the loss of a job or an unexpected medical emergency can quickly result in a downward debt spiral for almost anyone.

Accordingly, if you need help dealing with insurmountable debt and need a fresh start, it is best to consult with an experienced bankruptcy attorney. A skilled attorney can examine the specifics of your financial circumstances and help explain your rights and choices.