Research and Statistics

Americans are using less cash than 10 years ago, survey says


The results of a recent survey say Americans will ditch the cash and make purchases electronically.

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Frustrated with using cash? The results of a recent survey say many Americans are — and that they will ditch the cash and make purchases electronically.

According to a survey by MasterCard, U.S. consumers say they are using less cash than they did 10 years ago — specifically, three out of four consumers (or 73 percent) say so. The survey was released May 3, 2012.

“Commerce has changed dramatically over the past decade thanks to the Internet and e-commerce, and this survey underscores that Americans are already shifting toward a cashless society,” said Carlos Menendez, Group Executive, Global Debit at MasterCard Worldwide.

In the survey of more than 1,000 consumers entitled “World Beyond Cash,” respondents expressed feelings of frustration in dealing with cash, citing situations such as trying to get a vending machine to accept a crumpled bill (63 percent), waiting for a check to clear (40 percent), waiting for people to find exact change (40 percent), and finding the time to get to an ATM (29 percent).

The survey also asked U.S. adults about their spending plans for Mother’s Day, which resulted in a response of nearly twice as many consumers responding that they planned to purchase a gift electronically, rather than with cash.


The nationally representative online survey was conducted among 1,048 adults in the United States from April 5 to April 9, 2012. The World Beyond Cash survey is sponsored by Mastercard and was conducted by APCO insight, an international opinion research consultancy based in Washington, D.C. The theoretical sampling error for the full sample is +/- 3.0 percentage points at a 95 percent confidence interval. Data have been weighted according to key demographic information from the U.S. Census Bureau.

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