Knowledge Center

Cash Still Plays a Role in Everyday Payments

running-a-business | Read Time: 2 minutes

By John Clatworthy | Published: July 2021


A recent study found that consumers still use cash for everyday payments as well as budgeting.

The survey polled 1,500 Americans to analyze their payment preferences and found 51% said using cash helps them budget their money, with Gen Z being the most likely to agree.

In fact, Gen Z respondents were the most likely to prefer using cash over other payment methods at 52%.

Using cash as a budgeting tool seems to be working well, as 61% said they keep a strict budget to know how much they spend – with boomers leading the pack at 65%.

Conducted by OnePoll for Cash Connect, the survey found 77% of respondents agreed there’s nothing worse than finding out they need cash when they have empty pockets.

How Consumers Use Cash
The results showed Americans keep an average of $52 on their person and three-quarters of respondents keep an emergency cash stash – averaging around $89.

Just over a third of respondents (36%) even said they go out of their way to withdraw cash for tipping specifically, even if they don’t plan to pay for their service in cash.

Rounding out the top five things Americans prefer to pay cash for included fast food (44%), candy and snacks (37%), coffee (32%) and gas (27%).

With all of this in mind, there are some limits to Americans’ cash spends – $31 to be exact – any more and respondents would prefer to use another payment method for their purchase.

How Businesses View Cash Use
The survey also polled 500 business financial decision makers to analyze their cash habits and found this feeling is mutual.

Thirty-nine percent of these respondents said they have a cash-only policy for purchases less than $20. In fact, 43% of their businesses’ purchases are less than $20.

Like the 77% of Americans that said running out of cash is their pet peeve, 71% of the financial decision makers polled said there’s nothing worse than a customer using a large bill to make a small purchase.

Overall, 82% of the financial decision makers polled said their businesses have seen steady cash payments over the last five years, despite also seeing an increase in person-to-person digital payments.

Despite the growth in digital payments, cash has a key role in our society to both consumers and businesses. The research shows it is important for businesses to continue to accept a variety of payments for them to grow and to keep up with consumer needs.



About the Author – John Clatworthy
John Clatworthy is Senior Vice President, Chief Customer & Strategy Officer at Cash Connect®, a division of WSFS Bank, which is a premier provider of ATM vault cash and related services in the United States. He has more than 20 years of experience in the financial services field.


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