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News: Hackers Are Not Dimming Holiday Cheer -

Holiday shopping season can be a big draw for criminals, in both stores and online, and while consumers are worried, it's not going to get in their way this season, according to a new study by Discover. They found that 73% of people will be doing their shopping as usual, even though 62% are either very or moderately worried having their identity stolen or being the victim of fraud.

While they are still hitting stores in real time and online, they are also being proactive when it comes to protecting their data, with 62% indicating that they stay on top of their financial statements to catch fraud early. On the other hand, 41% check their credit reports and 38% use credit cards that come along with security features built into its design. While 18% use an identity protection service, and just 9% do nothing at all.

Baby boomers led the way

When looking at the generations, they found that Baby Boomers aged 55 and up, are the most diligent generation when it comes to keeping their identities safe, with 69% reporting that they keep track of their financial statements, while 45% use security feature heavy credit cards.

Generation X is right behind them with 62% tracking their statements followed by 56% of millennials. What about using credit cards with security features? They found that 37% of Generation X and 32% of Millennials use these cards.

It's all about credit cards and cash back

Just about a third of people (32%) said they would be using credit cards this season to go holiday shopping, followed closely by debit cards and prepaid cards, which are popular with 29% of shoppers.

Of the people who are using credit cards for their holiday shopping, 42% do so because they are earning points or rewards with their purchases. They also found that for 70% of people earning cash back rewards is a big draw, while 14% prefer to get travel rewards. "The holidays can be expensive, which is why we make it as simple as possible for Discover cardmembers to earn and redeem rewards," said Maureen Powers, Discover's vice president of rewards.

"Cardmembers can offset some of their holiday expenses by redeeming their cash back rewards in a variety of ways, including for gift cards from top merchants or as a statement credit to their Discover card account," she said.

But there are other reasons besides earning rewards that make credit cards popular too, including:

  • Convenience 28%
  • Let's they track spending 18%
  • They don't have enough cash 12%

That said, cash is still popular with 29% of people and is their payment method of choice, with just 5% indicating that they are using gift cards to go shopping, and 2% go old school by writing checks.

Propeller Insights, an independent survey research firm conducted Discovers holiday survey between October 27 and October 31.