Cash is Still a King for a Lot of Americans

A new report from Packaged Facts shows that cash is still being used by a lot of Americans – including a significant number of young people.

This may surprise some, given that we’re living in a digital age of virtual wallets, ecommerce, mobile payments, and online banking.

However, Packaged Facts found that 79% of U.S. consumers still make monthly cash payments.

In the wake of the great recession, the company said, consumers increasingly shifted to cash payments.

Yet by 2014, the pendulum had begun to shift back. Still even today, consumers use cash more prevalently than any other payment option.

Packaged Facts estimates that in 2016 some 79% of consumers made monthly cash payments despite the wide range of plastic and virtual alternatives.

The company also found that a wide variety of Americans prefer cash, and even those who prefer another payment option still use cash frequently.

Among the most interesting findings was that notoriously tech-trendy Millennials in the important 18-24 year old demographic comprised the largest share of people who prefer cash, at 38% based on Packaged Facts’ survey.

Nearly a quarter of every other age group selected cash as their primary preference.

Debt management, privacy, and security were among the primary motivators many consumers cited in Packaged Facts’ survey for using cash.

Many consumers also wish to avoid payment/card fees. Meanwhile, less than 10% of Americans use cash because they cannot qualify for credit.

Further, cash is often favored for its versatility and convenience, especially for specific use cases such as P2P transfers and small-value transactions.

Just as important, the average value of cash holdings—or the amount of cash a person is carrying with them—has grown.

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