Survey Says: Cash Likely to Linger

Recent surveys have highlighted just how different your opinion of cash could be depending on where you live – and how close you might be to living in a society that drops cash for cards or mobile payment options.

No matter where they’re located, as consumers increasingly embrace the idea of a world without cash, the opportunities for payment facilitators to connect merchants with buyers are rising.

The ING International Survey Mobile Banking 2017 – Cashless Society report surveyed consumers in 15 countries to learn more about their attitudes toward cash and alternatives to cash. It found some significant differences among the countries surveyed, which included 13 European countries as well as the U.S. and Australia.

More than half (54%) of Europeans said they use cash less than they did 12 months ago. And overall, the report said, 21% of people in Europe now rarely carry cash.

But there were differences. Germans were least likely to forego their cash, with only 10% indicating that they did not typically carry it.

At the other end of the spectrum, France and the U.S. had the highest percentages reporting that they rarely or never carried cash, at 35% and 34% respectively.

France (64%) and the U.S. (63%), along with the Netherlands (60%), were also on the low end of percentage of respondents who said they had used cash in the previous three days. In Germany, 87% of respondents said they had done so.

Low usage habits did not always correlate to a desire to eliminate cash altogether. In the Netherlands, despite the fact that fewer than two-thirds had used cash very recently, only 23% – lower than average – said they would like to go completely cashless.

In Turkey, 92% of respondents had used cash within the previous three days, but 42% indicated a willingness to go cash-free.

“For many, cash is no longer king. The days of rushing to the ATM so you have enough money for the weekend are long gone. Card and even mobile phone payments are increasingly being seen as safe substitutes,” ING senior economist Ian Bright said in a press release.

“Despite this, cash is not likely to die out soon. Four in five consumers say they have used cash in the last three days. Many would not want to go completely cashless and some prefer the privacy and physical sensation of cold hard cash.”

A recent survey conducted by Payments Canada reported that Canadians still use cash for an average of 22 transactions per month. But despite their continued use, these respondents indicated a willingness to change. Half of them said they would be willing to go cashless.

And according to payments trade organization Payments U.K., cash is projected to be overtaken by debit cards as the U.K.’s most popular payments instrument by the end of next year, three years earlier than the organization had previously forecasted.

Adrian Buckle, chief economist at Payments U.K., said in a press release, “This is a significant shift but it’s vital to note that even in the face of this change, we believe any claims the U.K. will soon become a cashless society are wide of the mark.”

The report’s forecast shows that any transition to a cashless society in the U.K. is still likely decades off at the current rate. In ten years, the report predicted, consumers there will be using cash for 21% of their payments.

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