Infographic: Preferred payment methods vary by location

Cash, debit, credit or PayPal? Depends on where, what you're buying

Shopping for groceries? You're more likely to pay with debit. If you're buying fast food, you're more likely to fork over cash. Credit cards, meanwhile, are the payment method of choice for online shoppers, according to the third annual Consumer Payment Choice Study from payment services company TSYS.

Overall, according to the survey, consumers prefer to pay with debit -- 50 percent of them call it their preferred payment method, with credit cards coming in second at 35 percent. Yet circumstances caused some fluctuations in preferences. While consumers tend to stick with debit for everyday purchases (such as gas and groceries), they're more likely whip out the credit card for special occasions such as dining out and trips to a department store. When it comes to online shopping, PayPal (barely a blip on the radar for most types of purchases) rivals debit in popularity. The chart below shows the percentage of consumers who use a particular payment method most often in the specified location.

The survey, released in October 2013, polled 1,000 adults who have both debit and credit cards.

Preferred payment method

See related: How paying with plastic can make you fat, More infographics

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Updated: 03-26-2019