Survey: Customers still carry cash

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Survey: Customers still carry cash

By Dan Berthiaume - 10/14/2019

The era of cashless retail may not yet be upon us.

Almost eight in 10 (78%) U.S. consumers believe stores and restaurants should be required to accept cash, according to a recent J.D. Power Pulse survey. The survey also reveals a lack of a generational divide in consumer opinions. While 85% of respondents over the age of 60 feel stores and restaurants should be required to accept cash, 72% of 18-to-29-year-olds also feel the same way. 

Overall, 82% of consumers say they typically carry cash, which includes 78% of 18-to 29-year-olds. One-quarter (25%) of all respondents said they have $50 or more on hand at any given time. What’s more, 67% of respondents say they used cash to make a purchase during the past week (65% of 18-to-29-year- olds), while 61% said they used a debit card, 54% used a credit card, and only 20% of consumers reported using a mobile phone or smartwatch to make a purchase. 

The number one reason respondents cited for carrying cash is to have it in case of an emergency (60%), followed by small purchases (50%), tips (42%), and those that use cash to better manage their finances (20%). 

A recent survey from Blackhawk Network also demonstrates a smaller, but still significant, percentage of consumers hanging onto their cash. That study shows that 43% of respondents are still using cash and 42% pay by debit card.