Lots of Lincolns used for quick paybacks: Cardtronics

January 15, 2016

HOUSTON (1/15/16)--Whether it’s paying someone back, purchasing a quick snack or leaving a tip for a meal, consumers are still likely to rely on cash.

That is among the revelations from the latest Cardtronics survey, which revealed that in spite of people having access to more payment methods, cash remains the most often used type of payment for many simple transactions.


Click image to enlarge. (Cardtronics Graphic)

The findings come from a late 2015 Cardtronics-sponsored survey of more than 1,000 U.S. adults, with survey data also uncovering surprising facts about how millennials use cash.  

"Cash is king for many consumers, even in today's expanding universe of digital payment options," said Tom Pierce, Cardtronics chief marketing officer. "Our survey data clearly shows that in a competitive payments environment, cash is a predominant payment form and sits atop multiple spending categories."

The survey asked, "What type of payment have you used in the past year for the following situations?" And the answers revealed that while consumers are using a mix of payment methods, time and again, cash is No. 1 in a variety of scenarios, including:

  • Paying someone back--78%;
  • Convenience store purchases--63%;
  • Snacks away from home--67%;
  • Grocery store--52%;
  • Purchase at small business--49%;
  • Restaurant--53%; and
  • Tipping--78%.

In addition to identifying where and when cash continues to play a prominent role in consumer spending, the Cardtronics survey findings also provided insights into how different demographic groups use cash.

While more than half (57%) of millennials reported using a greater variety of payment methods than before, nearly half (45%) of that group also said that they're more likely to pay with cash now than they did a few years ago. In fact, millennials report increased cash usage at the greatest clip compared with all other survey respondents.

Among all adults, 37% said their use of cash had increased. The survey also found that women are more likely than men (39% vs. 29%) to use cash to help stay on budget.