The marketplace’s belief that Millennials have abandoned the use of cash is proving to be erroneous.
A recent survey from Cardtronics Inc. has revealed that nearly four out of five consumers choose to use cash when they need to pay someone back. This and additional study findings reveal that, despite increased access to and use of a greater variety of payment methods, cash remains widely used and frequently selected for making all sorts of payments.
The findings come from a late 2015 Cardtronics-sponsored survey of more than 1,000 U.S. adults, with survey data also uncovering surprising facts about how Millennials use cash.
“Cash is king for many consumers, even in today’s expanding universe of digital payment options,” said Tom Pierce, chief marketing officer, Cardtronics. “Our survey data clearly shows that in a competitive payments environment, cash is a predominant payment form and sits atop multiple spending categories.”
The survey asked, “What type of payment have you used in the past year for the following situations?” And the answers revealed that while consumers are using a mix of payment methods, time and again, cash is number one in a variety of scenarios, including:
- Paying someone back — Cash: 78%; runner-up Check at 18%
- Convenience store purchases — Cash: 63%; runner-up Debit at 41%
- Snacks away from home — Cash: 67%; runner-up Debit at 37%
- Grocery Store — Cash: 52%; runner-up Debit at 51%
- Small business — Cash: 49%; runner-up Credit at 43%
- Restaurant — Cash: 53%; runner-up Credit at 48%
- Tipping — Cash: 78%; runner-up Credit at 27%
In addition to identifying where and when cash continues to play a prominent role in consumer spending, the Cardtronics survey findings also provided insights into how different demographic groups use cash.
“There is a myth in the marketplace that Millennials have abandoned cash in favor of mobile and other digital payments. It’s simply not true. What we found exposed the myth, with Millennials embracing cash usage along with new payment methods. Millennials take an open-minded view of payments and cash plays a pivotal role in their payment choice mix,” added Pierce.
While more than half (57%) of Millennials reported using a greater variety of payment methods than before, nearly half (45%) of that group also said that they’re more likely to pay more with cash now than they did a few years ago. In fact, Millennials report increased cash usage at the greatest clip compared with all other survey respondents.
Among all adults, 37% said their use of cash had increased. The survey also found that women are more likely than men (39% versus 29%) to use cash to help stay on budget.