Spending Goes Up When You Can Charge That Soda


CONSUMER ALERT

No longer just for big spenders, credit cards more and more are being used for small purchases such as sodas, pretzels and candy bars.

Two years ago cashless transactions were introduced at fast-food restaurants; now such “microtransactions” are hitting the Coke machines. But consumers beware: A survey by USA Technologies ( www.usatech.com ) revealed people spent 50% more at vending machines when they could pull out a credit card instead of digging for change.

The average credit card purchase ($2.33) from vending machines at airports, train stations and roadside rest areas was 52% higher than the average cash purchase ($1.53). At theme parks, zoos, museums and theatres, the average purchase using a card was $3.29 compared with $1.81 using cash (an increase of 82%). In office buildings the average vending machine purchase rose to more than $1.00 (an increase of 28% over a cash transaction) when it was charged.

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