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HOUSTON – Wondering what’s more important to consumers than cable television or even having Internet access – look no further than the ATM card in their wallets. According to a national consumer study commissioned by PULSE EFT Association, an electronic funds transfer system, the debit card ranks second only to owning a home telephone. The study, conducted by Houston-based Analytica, Inc., finds that on a scale of one to 10, with 10 representing “extremely important”, cardholders placed an average value of 7.58 on their ATM/debit card. The research firm surveyed 2,200 adults with checking, savings or share draft accounts in 16 states from the Great Lakes to the Gulf of Mexico. The survey also shows that nearly 68% of cardholders use their cards to pay for merchandise, and 45% get cash back when making a purchase with their card. In addition findings revealed that 84% of all cardholders are satisfied with the current functionality of their ATM card. “One of the more interesting findings of this study is that many American consumers consider their ATM card more valuable than other everyday conveniences for which they pay considerably more,” said PULSE President/CEO Stan Paur. Other survey findings include the following: ATM cardholders typically use their card 4.78 times during a two-week period, approximately 3.12 times to make a purchase and 1.65 times at an ATM; 64% currently have an ATM card; and age is the most relevant demographic variable impacting whether a person has or uses an ATM card, individuals 18-44 are far more likely to carry and use a card than those 45 and over. PULSE links an estimated 60 million cardholders with more than 78,000 ATMs and 300,000 point-of-sale merchant locations throughout the United States. -mbourjolly@cutimes.com

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