Putting away the plastic: Credit card use plunges


Just call it that non-swiping sound. It seems that Americans are keeping their credit cards in their wallets, as the nation's worst recession in decades has prompted citizens to re-evaluate their spending habits.

Balances on U.S. consumer credit cards fell by $7.4 billion in February, the U.S. Federal Reserve announced Tuesday. This translates to a -9.7 percent annual rate, the largest rate of decline since 1976. Economists surveyed by Bloomberg News had expected February card card use to contract by $3 billion.