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Reaching for the plastic isn’t always about doing the shopping or paying the bills. A survey by thinkmoney* has found that Britons have a whole host of alternative uses for their bank cards.

Top of the list is scraping ice off the car. With winter just around the corner, thinkmoney has discovered that one in five of us will be reaching for our wallet rather than the de-icer on frosty mornings. That’s equivalent to over 9.5 million people.

Plastic fantastic

But using a bank card to shift ice is not the only creative employment for our plastic. Some 7 million of us have dug out our card in order to use it as small ruler, while 3.5 million people have used it to clean their nails.

Meanwhile, 3% of the nation have used a bank card to clean their computer keyboard and 3% have given it to their kids to use as a toy.

Although all ages like using their bank card to scrape ice off the car, youngsters seem the most likely to find an unusual use for their cards (for example, 14% of 18-to-24 year-olds have used their plastic to clean their nails, compared with just 3% of the over-65s).

Across the country, those living in Wales are most likely to reach for their bank card to scrape ice off the car (26%). Just 12% of North East of England residents said the same.

Cards on the table

While our research demonstrates that bank cards can be put to a number of different uses (and we are very good at coming up with ingenious ways to deploy them), it’s important to remember that we rely on our cards to withdraw cash and make payments in store.

If your thinkmoney Prepaid Debit MasterCard® does become damaged so you can’t use it (or if it is lost or stolen) don’t forget that you can arrange to collect cash from a PayPoint retailer. Either call a Money Manager or go Online to select the amount of cash you need and we’ll text you a voucher to use in store. Find out more here.

*Consumer Intelligence questioned a nationally representative sample of 2,940 adults aged 18 and over between 9th and 16h October 2013. Figures have been extrapolated to fit ONS 2013 population projections of 50,371,000 UK adults.

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