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Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Consumers want payment choices, not cashless society

Who thinks cash is passé? Apparently very few Americans. Even many of most digitally savvy among us – millennials – like the idea of carrying cash. This is according to the Health of Cash consumer survey just released by Cardtronics, the Houston-based ATM firm.

"There's a comfort level people have with cash," said Brian Bailey, Cardtronics Managing Director for North America. And it cuts across generations. Millennials, for example, while leading proponents of digital wallets, are more likely than others to use cash for person-to-person (P2P) payments than the population at large (67 percent versus 62 percent), the survey showed. When it comes to P2P, "the most digitally forward segment surveyed, millennials, are at the top of the list for cash usage," Baily stated during an interview with The Green Sheet.

The Health of Cash survey, conducted in May and June 2017 by Edelman Intelligence, queried 1,000 U.S. adults about their payment preferences and methods actually used. Here's how actual usage for POS and P2P transactions broke down for the previous six months:

  • 91 percent used cash
  • 72 percent used debit cards
  • 68 percent used credit cards
  • 51 percent used bank- or retailer-provided digital payment apps

When asked about their preferred method of payment, consumers ranked debit cards first (33 percent of those surveyed) followed by cash (27 percent). Twenty-two percent prefer credit cards, 15 percent favor digital apps, and 3 percent prefer to write checks. Among millennials, though, cash was the top choice (cited by 29 percent), followed by debit cards (26 percent), digital (25 percent), credit cards (17 percent) and checks (3 percent).

Convenience, ease of use top considerations

Convenience and ease of use are key reasons consumers give for preferring one payment method over others, Bailey noted. Yet when asked which method best delivers these benefits, cash exceeded all other methods on both counts. Thirty-eight percent said cash was most convenient; 44 percent said cash is wins on ease of use.

Not surprisingly, cash usage has the greatest appeal for P2P payments. In the six months leading up to the survey, 62 of consumers surveyed had used cash for P2P payments; just a third had used nonbank digital apps for P2P payments.

Cash also continues to resonate with consumers for small-dollar purchases. The majority of those surveyed (82 percent) said they prefer to use cash for small-dollar items and opt for electronic payment options for more expensive items. Sixty-eight percent said they use cash for purchase amounts under $10; 55 percent use cash when making purchases under $20.

"The notion that consumers want to be limited to cashless payments or that digital payments are overtaking cash is not consistent with consumer behavior," Bailey said in a press release. "The 2017 Health of Cash Study proves that consumers like and demand choice when they pay – with 90 percent using at least two payment methods a month and 66 percent using three – making a cashless society contrary to the will of the people." end of article

Editor's Note:

The Green Sheet Inc. is now a proud affiliate of Bankcard Life, a premier community that provides industry-leading training and resources for payment professionals. Click here for more information.

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