NEW YORK — More and more Americans are paying for everything electronically or with credit cards. A new study finds that a quarter of Americans say they rarely, if ever, carry cash on them anymore.
The trend is buoyed by millennials, who are increasingly opting to avoid carrying paper currency with them.
The research, sponsored by the credit card company Capital One, surveyed 2,000 American adults. While 1 in 4 participants overall most often go cashless, the number jumped to a third when it came to millennial respondents (for the purposes of this study, those between 18 and 35 years old). In fact, millennials were 41% more likely to call paying with cash “inconvenient.” When compared to the other age demographics in the study, they were the least likely to call carrying cash with them “very necessary.”
“The research provides an interesting look at the way people choose to pay for things and how the need for convenience often drives this. While it’s perhaps expected that millennials would be quickest to move beyond cash payments in favor of more convenient methods, the results could suggest that this is due to a desire to monitor their finances and spend more responsibly,” says Mark Mattern, Managing Vice President, U.S. Card, for Capital One in a release.
When it comes to shopping habits, respondents estimated that cash purchases make up less than a quarter of their expenditures in a given week. Only 21% said cash is their most common form of payment. On the other hand, the survey showed that 41% of respondents carry cash regularly.
Diving deeper into the debate, the researchers found that for Americans who do carry cash, they keep $25 on average in their wallets. When asked to survey their wallets at the time of being surveyed, however, one in six participants had no cash at all, while two in five had less than $10 on them.
Could these results be just the beginning of the changing tide? Most participants think so. The study found that 6 in 10 Americans think cash may disappear completely as a form of currency one day.
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