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Though credit card issuance and use likely will continue to tighten in the coming year, the debit and prepaid card markets will hold their own and even benefit in some ways from a bad economy, Paul Tomasofky, president of U.S.-based Two Sparrows Consulting, tells CardLine sister publication Cards&Payments. "Regardless of what happens in credit activity, there will still be the megatrend that electronic payments will continue to displace cash and check," he says. Whether by voluntary prudence or involuntary loss of access to credit, consumers will reach more for debit cards, Tomasofsky adds. "There is a new age of frugality," he says. "If that becomes a megatrend, debit cards will continue to grow because folks will look at that as a budgeting tool more than credit cards."

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