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Convenience Charging

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According to the American Express Everyday Spending Index, American households spend an estimated $23,379 throughout the year on expenses such as groceries, fast food meals, healthcare, gasoline and utilities. This reflected an increase of 5% over the previous years survey.
Americans are looking for ways to more conveniently manage their household budget, as everyday expenses increase. One of the ways many Americans are managing is by the use of credit cards for routine spending. In the past, credit cards were used only for larger purchases, but now are typically used for everyday essentials.

In the Everyday Spending survey, over half of those surveyed report that their typical credit card purchase is $100 or less, with 45% saying they charge purchases under $20. Many indicate that the amount of the purchase isnt important when deciding how to make payment. Some of the top reasons cited for using plastic instead of cash are:

***not having to carry cash
***writing fewer checks
***added spending flexibility and
***reward programs

Many consumers find that the detailed billing statements from their credit card purchases help them to manage cash flow, keeping a closer accounting of where their money is going. To keep their monthly expenditures to a minimum, over two thirds of the survey respondents report that they pay their credit card bill in full each month.

According to the survey, consumers want maximum payment flexibility, and 79% of Americans say that all merchants should accept all forms of payment. Many of those surveyed have recently used credit cards for the following expenses they previously paid for with cash:

–gas
–memberships
–groceries
–mass transit
–home furnishings
–tolls and commuting expenses
–drug store items
–fast food
–charitable contributions
–doctor and hospital visits
–telephone services
–subscriptions

American Express offers some free brochures that are helpful to consumers purchasing with credit cards, and shopping online. To get a better idea of how credit cards can help protect everyday purchases, request the brochure, Protecting Your Purchases: Tips on How to Unleash Consumer Power. For help on smart cybershopping, request the brochure, Tips For Protecting Yourself When Shopping Online. The address is: American Express, PO Box 4635, Trenton, NJ 08650-9874. Try contacting their Web site at www.americanexpress.com for additional information.

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