As mobile payments and credit cards offer alternative methods of payment to cold hard cash, 82% of Americans said they still carry cash for certain transactions, according to a survey by J.D. Power emailed to sister publication Banking Dive.
One-quarter (25%) of all respondents said they have $50 or more on hand at any given time. Sixty-seven percent of respondents said they used cash to make a purchase during the past week, while 61% said they used a debit card, 54% used a credit card, and 20% of consumers reported using a mobile phone or smartwatch to make a purchase.
The report also mentions the rise of chains, such as Sweetgreen, and businesses that have gone cashless, such as Amazon Go stores, which accept credit cards and electronic payments from mobile wallets like Apple Pay, Google Pay and PayPal. Although the model might be lucrative for some business owners, the survey found most Americans believe all stores should be required to accept cash.
Although a cashless store that accepts cards and mobile payments may streamline operations for a retailer or restaurant, refusing to accept cash can alienate some communities.
"Keeping cash in the mainstream is a huge benefit to the underbanked community," the report said. "For those consumers that either cannot afford or choose not to have smart phones, bank accounts, or lines of credit, a requirement to accept cash prevents building barriers to entry."
More than three-quarters of Americans (78%) are in favor of requiring all businesses to accept cash, according to the report.
The survey found that the view that stores should be required to accept cash varied slightly between generations. While 85% of respondents over the age of 60 feel stores and restaurants should be required to accept cash, 72% of 18-to-29-year-olds shared the same sentiment.
State and city lawmakers are also taking notice of the all-cash business trend. Philadelphia and San Francisco, and states such as New Jersey, Massachusetts and Rhode Island, are enacting laws that require most businesses to accept cash, the report said.
Emergencies were the No. 1 reason respondents said they carried cash (60%), followed by small purchases (50%), tips (42%) and to manage their finances (20%), according to the report.
Cybersecurity and data privacy could be at the root of Americans' preference for cash, the survey said.
"Where some consumers may have concerns about surrendering their privacy with mobile purchases, cash doesn't leave a digital footprint," the report said. "So, whether consumers are hoping to keep a tighter lid on their credit card information, or simply want to keep their purchases out of the data sharing ecosystem, cash can offer a technological workaround."