Cash Remains a Leading Payment Form

by Raymond Pucci 0

HOUSTON, Jan. 14, 2016 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Cash is selected by nearly four out of five consumers when they need to pay someone back. This and additional findings taken from the latest Cardtronics, Inc. (NASDAQ:CATM) survey reveal that in spite of people having access to and using a greater variety of payment methods, cash remains widely used and frequently selected for making all sorts of payments. From paying people back to convenience store purchases to tipping, cash retains a prominent place in the consumer payments landscape.
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.”

Despite the increase in digital and cashless payment options now available for consumers, most people continue to use cash for person-to-person payments, especially for small denomination amounts, typically in cafes, convenience stores, and tipping. Not only do consumers choose to use greenbacks out of habit, but also for more tangible reasons of security, fees, and privacy that can be associated with some forms of digital payments.

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 percent) of Millennials reported using a greater variety of payment methods than before, nearly half (45 percent) 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.

Although there may not be widespread acceptance yet, several person-to-person cashless payment products are currently available. PayPal’s Venmo platform is convenient for paying back someone or sharing expenses with one another, as are new offerings from Square Cash, Amazon, and Facebook. Additionally, speculation places Apple in talks with banks to leverage their Apple Pay system for consumer cashless payments. And for Starbucks loyalty program customers that enjoy their double shot lattes, the company offers iPhone and Android apps that enable leaving a digital tip within two hours of the transaction—just another way to get consumers to ultimately leave their wallets at home.

Overview by Raymond Pucci, Associate Director, Research Services at Mercator Advisory Group

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