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Cashless society not happening anytime soon


The use of cash remains strong among in-store shoppers.

That’s according to a new survey by Cardtronics, in which 89% of consumers report using cash in the past six months to pay for merchandise in a physical store.

Cash was followed by debit cards, used by 74% of consumers in the last six months, and credit cards, used by 66% of consumers. Eighteen percent of consumers reported using store mobile apps to pay for something in the last six months, and 17% used a mobile wallet.

The “Health of Cash Study” found that consumers are using a variety of payment options in what has become a fragmented payment landscape. It also found that 56% of consumers use cash as frequently as they did one year ago, and 23% are using it even more frequently.

Headlines about data breaches may be driving the use of cash. Eighty-three percent of consumers surveyed have concerns about data security and privacy, and 93% believe cash can keep them safe from hackers.

In contrast, only 44% think credit cards or debit cards are safe, while 49% think a mobile wallet is safe. When respondents were asked to identify which single form of payment method is "safe to use,” 59% said cash is safe while credit cards, debit cards and digital payments such as a mobile wallet drew 16%, 14%, and 11%, respectively.

With 79% of respondents claiming that they can't imagine a world without cash and 83% saying they would miss cash if it went a, the ‘new norm' is not a cashless society, but rather one in which consumers will continue to demand a wide variety of payment options, according to Cardtronics.

In other findings:

• Millennials are using all the major payment methods more frequently than they did a year ago, except checks. And despite the continued increase in the number of payment options, 67% of millennial digital payment users also still use cash regularly.

• In general, 80% of people agree that they use cash for smaller items and other forms of payment for larger, more expensive items.

• Convenience store shoppers 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.

"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," said Jonathan Simpson-Dent, chief commercial officer for Cardtronics. "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."

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