Cash or Card for Small Purchases?
Do you remember how you paid last time you got a cup of coffee? Did you unfold a five-dollar bill and hand it to the cashier or give a quick swipe of your card? How would you pay for a pack of gum at the gas station? Do you fish around for spare change or just use your card?
Cash has traditionally been used for small transactions, but that may be changing. Many consumers are shifting to payment cards for smaller purchases, noting the convenience of not having to carry cash. Since 2014, debit card use is up five percentage points. Recent market research indicates that 60% of credit card holders will still pay cash for purchases less than five dollars, but debit card usage is gaining in popularity.
Who is still using cash?
The research shows defined demographic preferences: generational differences, as well as a rural versus urban divide. An equal percentage of those under age 50 use cash and debit cards for small transactions; however, for those over 50, cash is preferable by a large margin. 75% feel more comfortable using cash for these purchases. Geographically, respondents in the West were less likely to use cash than their counterparts in the Midwest and Northeast.
As more businesses – including smaller vendors – adopt technology to allow payment card transactions, the trend will continue to grow. However, no coffee shop or gas station will be turning down your cash purchases any time soon.
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