BACK

Research and Statistics

Credit, debit cards slowly losing ground to digital payments

Summary

Young consumers adopt the technology, but retain a preference for cash

The editorial content below is based solely on the objective assessment of our writers and is not driven by advertising dollars. However, we may receive compensation when you click on links to products from our partners. Learn more about our advertising policy.

The content on this page is accurate as of the posting date; however, some of the offers mentioned may have expired. Please see the bank’s website for the most current version of card offers; and please review our list of best credit cards, or use our CardMatch™ tool to find cards matched to your needs.

Millennials are embracing digital payments at much higher rates than older generations.

No surprise there. But despite predictions of a cashless future, millennials’ shift to digital is coming mostly at the expense of plastic. In fact, when asked what their most preferred payment type is, more millennials said cash than any other form.

See related: Poll: Pay with cash or card for $5 purchase?, More infographics

The findings come from a recent study by Cardtronics and Edelman Intelligence, which found cash, debit cards and digital payments vying closely for most-preferred status among Americans age 18-34. Cash was named as a first choice by 29 percent of respondents, debit cards by 27 percent, and digital payments by 25 percent. Credit cards trailed significantly at 15 percent.

While millennials’ preference for plastic (debit and credit combined) totals 42 percent of respondents, baby boomers’ preference for cards came in at 66 percent. Not only are more boomers sticking with plastic over digital, but they’re also less inclined toward cash than millennials.

Generation X reported a preference for cash similar to millennials. Cited as the favorite method by 30 percent of respondents, Gen X showed the strongest cash inclination of the three generations. But these Americans age 35-54 haven’t made as strong a shift away from debit and credit, preferring digital at less than half the rate that millennials do.

Cardtronics’ 2017 Health of Cash Study was conducted by Edelman Intelligence, administered as an online survey of 1,000 U.S. adults age 18 and older. The data were collected in May and June 2017, with results released Sept. 20.

What’s up next?

In Research and Statistics

Debt relief firm that claimed ties to US government sued by CFPB

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau sued two companies both known as FDAA for an allegedly illegal debt relief scheme targeting credit card debtors

Published: October 12, 2017

See more stories
Credit Card Rate Report Updated: July 17th, 2019
Business
15.61%
Airline
17.59%
Cash Back
17.68%
Reward
17.58%
Student
17.79%

Questions or comments?

Contact us

Editorial corrections policies

Learn more

Join the Discussion

We encourage an active and insightful conversation among our users. Please help us keep our community civil and respectful. For your safety, do not disclose confidential or personal information such as bank account numbers or social security numbers. Anything you post may be disclosed, published, transmitted or reused.

The editorial content on CreditCards.com is not sponsored by any bank or credit card issuer. The journalists in the editorial department are separate from the company’s business operations. The comments posted below are not provided, reviewed or approved by any company mentioned in our editorial content. Additionally, any companies mentioned in the content do not assume responsibility to ensure that all posts and/or questions are answered.