Jennifer slides her prepaid card into the electronic meter and buys time to park at one of the nearly 750 gold-domed meters scattered throughout Pittsburgh. Dave goes to his local electronics store and purchases a stored-value gift card for his son graduating from college. And Linda uses her prepaid phone card to call home during a weekend business trip.

Prepaid cards are popping up all over. And while many people seem to know they exist, few actually are using them, at least yet, according to the Standard Register's National Consumer Survey of Plastic Card Usage. Standard Register in Dayton, Ohio, provides comprehensive services to card issuers.

The number of people aware of prepaid and debit card services is more than double the percentage of those actually using them, says the survey. That's why industry experts say debit cards and other types of prepaid cards are poised for significant growth in the next few years.

But for now, credit, ATM (automated teller machine), and membership cards (AAA, health insurance, credit union) still top the list of most often used cards.

The following percentages of adults use:

Credit cards89%
ATM cards 61%
Membership cards 59%
Debit cards 37%
Prepaid cards 33%
Prepaid phone cards 29%
Loyalty cards 25%
Smart cards   5%
Source: Standard Register's
National Consumer Survey of Plastic Card Usage

©1999 Credit Union National Association Inc.