Most consumers would nix the notion of emerging payments technology leading to a cashless society, with 83% saying they would miss cash if it ever "went away" and 85% saying a world without cash will never unfold.
Even more telling, despite all of the payment options available to tech-savvy millennial consumers, two thirds of millennial digital payments users still use cash regularly, according to new research.
In fact, while cash dominates the general person-to-person payments preferences with 79% of consumers, and 73% of millennials, it also is the payment of choice in certain scenarios as 55% of consumers, and 47% of millennials, still prefer to split a dining bill with cash. Only 10% prefer a bank or non-bank digital P-to-P option, according to the 2016 U.S. Health of Cash Study by ATM manufacturer Cardtronics.
It all points to steady adoption of mobile payments and other digital options, but cash always having its place in the ecosystem among consumers who will demand a wide variety of payment options. “Consumers today desire and demand more payment choices in their financial lives to make life easier on their terms,” Jonathan Simpson-Dent, chief commercial officer for Cardtronics, stated in a release about the study. “And while emerging digital and mobile payment technologies are on the rise, the pace of adoption is sensible."
In support of that notion, the study showed that 91% of consumers like the ability to pay with a variety of methods, with 85% saying they use at least two different types of payment and 55% citing at least three different types of payment each month.
Of those surveyed, 80% said they use cash for smaller items and other forms of payment for larger, more expensive items. Specifically, 72% use cash for purchases less than $10, and 54% use cash for purchases less than $20.
“One of the trend lines that reinforces the important role of cash in the everyday life of consumers is the healthy market share of cash usage at pharmacies, grocery stores and mass merchandisers such as Target and Wal-Mart,” Simpson-Dent said. “Debit is preferred in these three locations, but cash is neck-and-neck with credit and remains the most commonly used form of payment in brick-and-mortar stores overall.”
At convenience stores, consumers are almost twice as likely to have used cash in comparison to credit in the past six months, and 33% are more likely to use cash than a debit card. When it comes to impulse buys, 75% of items such as candy and gum – frequent convenience store purchases – are made with cash, the study said.
Consumers also feel cash helps them manage their finances, with 77% saying cash keeps their spending down. For millennials, 71% say they leave their credit card at home when going out to shop to avoid overspending, while 70% say they don't use credit cards because they don't like being in debt.
Cardtronics partnered with Edelman Intelligence to conduct an online survey of 1,006 consumers older than 18 during a week in September 2016 to compile the findings.