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Cardtronics Blog

2018 Health of Cash Study

12/04/2018 - Cardtronics

Each year, the independent Health of Cash Study sponsored by Cardtronics reveals that in spite of advances in digital and mobile payment technology, cash maintains its place as a pillar of payments and a top choice for consumers. The fact is, cash matters.  In 2018, 73 percent of consumers used cash regularly despite more payment methods being available.

 In fact, the intrinsic value of cash hasn’t changed much since the annual Health of Cash survey began four years ago. Consumers value cash because it is universal, safe and always available, even when digital payments falter.

People want choice in their payment options – and often choose cash 

Consumers value choice in how they pay and vary their payment method based on the situation. In fact, 92 percent like having the ability to use a variety of payment methods, and they still value the steady, stable nature of cash. 

Thirty-seven percent of people said they tend to pay more often with cash than they did a few years ago, and 81 percent use cash as often or more often than in 2017.

Cash remains a steady favorite for giving and receiving money. Seventy percent of those surveyed prefer using cash to pay money back to a family member or friend, while 65 percent like receiving cash from a friend or family member when owed money. This is against a backdrop of a steady rise in the use of mobile apps, such as Venmo and Zelle that enable digital person-to-person payments. While these app-systems have penetrated the P2P landscape, cash is still the most cited way to pay other people.

71% of people have used cash in the past six months for giftsThe growing digital landscape relfects technological evolution - not an end to cash. 

While new mobile payment options continue to pop up with regularity, mobile payments were never favored by more than 10 percent of respondents for any retail payment situation surveyed.  

In addition, digital payment users themselves aren’t shying away from using cash. Four in five say they always try to keep cash on hand, and 55 percent acknowledge they get upset when places don’t accept cash. 

 Cash is the only payment option available to all, all the time. 

Cash is the only payment method available to everyone regardless of income level or age and plays an important role in addressing societal needs. 81% of poeple try to always keep cash on hand More than nine in 10 respondents think that cash is an essential method of payment for those who do not have a checking or savings account. What’s more, two-thirds believe laws and ordinances should bar retailers and restaurants from going cashless.

In addition, Americans think cash serves other purposes beyond just being a form of payment. Eighty-two percent believe cash teaches financial responsibility, and 61 percent have used cash to help them keep within their budget. Plus, consumers associate credit card use with debt, with nearly two-thirds saying they don’t like using credit cards because they dislike being in debt.

Overall, cash continues to rank highest among payment methods that people say they are likely to use in the next six months, with 94 percent anticipating the use of cash in the next six months. People are especially likely to have cash readily available when going out of town or preparing for an unknown situation, with 90 percent considering cash to be safe to use and 95 percent thinking it is reliable.

Likelihood to have cash on hand for certain situations bar graphInterested in exploring the full study? Download the 2018 Health of Cash Study today to learn more about:

  • How choice impacts the payment landscape.
  • Cash's future in today's digital age.
  • The role cash plays in society. 

Learn more at

Cardtronics - Champions of Cash