Americans just love debit cards, as their usage of such cards soared by more than 39% last year. The reason for the surge in consumers’ usage of VISA and MasterCard-branded debit cards to buy stuff is their desire to eliminate check writing hassles at the cash register. According to a recently concluded CardWeb.com homepage poll, 40.3% of consumers say they want to avoid the hassles of writing a check, while 32.4% say the need to carry less cash is the #1 reason they use a debit card for purchases. Anecdotally, some consumers report that other shoppers “hiss” when someone whips out a checkbook at the checkout. Writing a personal check at the cash register has quickly become “old school.” Interestingly, the CardWeb.com poll of more than 1,000 consumers also found that nearly 21% say the primary reason they use a debit card at the POS is to avoid credit card interest. Presumably this includes the newer hassles involving credit card late fees. Less than 7% indicated that expense tracking via a debit card was their main reason for using a debit card. Last year, Americans charged $420.7 billion to their VISA and MasterCard debit cards versus $301.8 billion in 2000. VISA, the largest payment card network, reported it now processes more debit card transactions than credit card transactions in the USA.