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Consumer Payment Choice report: Cash usage stable in US

by Communication Team | Jul 12, 2018

Freedom of choice, doughnuts, selection
The 2016 and 2017 US Surveys of Consumer Payment Choice, released in May 2018, found that cash usage, as well as usage of other payment methods have remained stable for the past 10 years. Indeed, despite the increasing selection of other payment methods, consumers seem reluctant to change their habits. Only checks have recorded a constant decline, as can be seen in the tables below.

Debit cards and cash are the most popular payment methods (in that order), followed by credit cards, accounting for 31.8%, 27.4% and 23.2% respectively. Ninety percent of consumers held some cash on their person in October 2016 amounting to an average of USD $219 (including on person and/or stored elsewhere). This data is not available for 2017 as it can be found in the Diary of Consumer Payment Choice.

The graph here below clearly shows consumer’s choice of payments where cash remains stable, debit card usage grows and checks decline.

Graph about payments usage per percentage of consumers 2017

The second table shows what percentage of transactions each payment method has. It is interesting to see the significant surge in cash usage immediately following the 2008 financial crisis, surpassing the debit card, only to stabilize and slightly increase in the past few years. Transactions with checks have been steadily declining.

Payments graph indicating percentage of transactions 2017

Cash remains the most popular payment method for person-to-person transactions (P2P) while online purchases are greatly carried out with debit cards.

“Cash was rated best for acquisition/setup and cost. It received the lowest rating for payment records and also scored poorly for security.” But 25% consumers also mentioned for the third consecutive year that they knew someone from their immediate circle that has been victim of identity theft.

To read the full report, click here or download it below.



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