Identity Theft Concerns Not Expected to Chill Holiday Shopping: Discover Survey

November 20, 2017

Credit Cards Outpace Debit Cards and Cash as Most Popular Method of Payment During the Holidays

RIVERWOODS, Ill.--(BUSINESS WIRE)-- Despite concerns about identity theft and fraud, consumers don’t plan to curb their holiday shopping. An independent survey commissioned by Discover found that while 62 percent of consumers are very or moderately concerned about identify theft or fraud this holiday season, a large majority, 73 percent, say concerns over recent data breaches won’t affect how they’ll go about their holiday shopping. Discover has commissioned its annual holiday shopping survey since 2004.

“The safety and security of consumers’ personal information is always top of mind, especially during the holidays when spending tends to ramp up,” said Laks Vasudevan, Discover’s vice president of products and innovation. “We look out for our cardmembers by offering a wide range of built-in credit card security features for free, including our recently launched Social Security number and new account alerts1. Our new alerts help our cardmembers protect their identities beyond their Discover account. Once a cardmember activates their new alerts, we’ll monitor thousands of risky websites and alert them if their Social Security number is found, or if any new accounts are opened on their Experian® credit report.”

For more information about Discover card security features, go to

Consumers Are Taking Proactive Steps to Safeguard their Identities

When it comes to protecting themselves from identity theft and fraud, a large number of consumers are taking proactive steps. According to the survey, 62 percent of consumers say they monitor financial statements for suspicious activity, 41 percent monitor their credit reports, 38 percent use a credit card with built-in security features and 18 percent subscribe to an identity protection service. Only 9 percent report not doing anything to guard against identity theft or fraud.

Baby boomers (ages 55 and over) are the most diligent when it comes to protecting their identities, as 69 percent say they monitor their financial statements and 45 percent use a credit card that has built-in security features. By comparison, 56 percent of millennials (ages 18 to 34) and 62 percent of generation X (ages 35 to 54) monitor their financial statements, and 32 percent of millennials and 37 percent of generation X use a credit card with built-in security features.

Credit Is King while Holiday Shopping

Credit cards are expected to be the most popular method of payment during the holidays, as about a third of survey respondents, 32 percent, say they plan to use credit cards most often when making holiday purchases. That’s followed by 29 percent who will mostly use debit or prepaid cards and 23 percent who will mostly use cash. Just 5 percent expect to use gift cards most often, and only 2 percent will mostly write checks.

Of those who favor credit cards for most of their holiday shopping, 42 percent cite earning credit card rewards or points as the primary reason why. Other leading reasons to pay with a credit card include convenience, 28 percent; the ability to track spending, 18 percent; and not having enough cash on hand, 12 percent.

Most credit card holders, 70 percent, indicate that they prefer to earn cash back rewards when using their credit cards for holiday purchases, compared to 14 percent who would rather earn travel rewards, such as airline miles or hotel points.

“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.”

For more information about Discover card rewards, go to

About Discover’s 2017 Holiday Shopping Survey

The national survey of 2,008 U.S. consumers ages 18 and up was commissioned by Discover and conducted by Propeller Insights, an independent survey research firm, between October 27 and October 31, 2017. The maximum margin of sampling error was ±2 percentage points with a 95 percent level of confidence.

About Discover

Discover Financial Services (NYSE: DFS) is a direct banking and payment services company with one of the most recognized brands in U.S. financial services. Since its inception in 1986, the company has become one of the largest card issuers in the United States. The company issues the Discover card, America's cash rewards pioneer and offers private student loans, personal loans, home equity loans, checking and savings accounts and certificates of deposit through its direct banking business. It operates the Discover Network, with millions of merchant and cash access locations; PULSE, one of the nation's leading ATM/debit networks; and Diners Club International, a global payments network with acceptance in more than 185 countries and territories. For more information, visit

1 Discover Identity Alerts are offered by Discover Bank at no cost, only available online, and currently include the following services: (a) daily monitoring of your Experian® credit report and an alert when a new account is listed on your report; (b) daily monitoring of thousands of risky websites known for revealing personal information and an alert if your Social Security Number on is found on such a website. This information is intended for, and only provided to, Primary credit cardmembers whose accounts are open, in good standing and have an email address on file. The Primary cardmember must agree online to receive identity alerts. Identity alert services are based on Experian information and data which may differ from information and data at other credit bureaus. Monitoring your credit report does not impact your credit score. This benefit may change or end in the future. Discover Bank is not a credit repair organization as defined under federal or state law, including the Credit Repair Organizations Act. See Frequently Asked Questions.

Source: Discover Financial Services

Discover Financial Services

Jeremy Borling