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Most Americans foresee death of cash in their lifetimes

25 July 2016  |  11375 views  |  5 $100

More than half of Americans still like to have cash on them at all times but 62% expect the US to become a cashless society in their lifetimes, according to a Gallup survey.

Of just over 1000 people surveyed, 62% think that it is likely or very likely that the rise of electronic payments will lead to a cashless society within their lifetimes. The view has solid majorities in all age groups, including 58% of those 65 and older and 63% of 18 to 29 year-olds.

However, 54% of respondents still say they like to have cash on them at all times, although there is a clear age divide. While 56% of 18 to 29 year-olds are comfortable not having cash, just 32% of those 65 and older are.

While older adults generally like to have cash always on hand, this does not mean they like to carry the most cash. Instead, those aged 30 to 49 like to have the most on hand, averaging $61.73. That is more than double the average amount of cash 18 to 29 year-olds like to carry.

The death of cash has long been predicted. A recent poll of 2000 Brits, carried out by the Mayor of London's PR company, London & Partners, showed that 68% of people think that cashless technologies will completely replace physical money by 2036.

Yet earlier this year the central bank of Sweden - often lauded as a country well on its way to becoming a cashless society - kicked against the grain by calling for access to physical money to be a legal right.

Comments: (5)

Ketharaman Swaminathan
Ketharaman Swaminathan - GTM360 Marketing Solutions - Pune | 27 July, 2016, 10:34

Currency note is the only payment instrument on which a central bank can guarantee transfer of value between payer and payee in realtime. Kudos to the central bank of Sweden for asserting this legal right. 

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Hitesh Thakkar
Hitesh Thakkar - FIS Payments Software and Services India - India | 27 July, 2016, 19:10

Is this findings can be genuine feeling for million mass from the survey of 1000 to 2000 citizens of mix of various age group  (not considering education, geography, technology usage, income and other factors) as sample size for survey ? 

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Melvin Haskins
Melvin Haskins - Haston International Limited - | 10 August, 2016, 09:10

Just over 1,000 people surveyed in a country of 320,000,000 spread across 50 states. Hitesh hit the nail on the head - within that 'just over 1,000' is a mix of age groups, education, geography, income, technological familiarity as well as many other factors. The survey is a joke.

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Ketharaman Swaminathan
Ketharaman Swaminathan - GTM360 Marketing Solutions - Pune | 10 August, 2016, 19:12

I too thought a sample size of 1K can't yield any statistically significant results for a population of nearly 300M. When I saw more comments expressed along the same lines, I Googled around. Seems like I'm mistaken:

  1. Per online calculator available here, a sample size of 1006 yields a 95% confidence value of results with 3% error margin for a population of 300M. Click here for details.   
  2. Not convinced with the above, I found a formula to calculate error margin here. When I plugged in the values, I found the results tallying with #1. Click here for details.

I was also intrigued by the following line on the online calculator website:

“The sample size doesn't change much for populations larger than 20,000.” 

Not sure if theory of statistics has changed or survey methodologies have improved (or something else) since I studied the subject years ago but a survey sample size of 1K does seem to suffice to draw conclusions about a 300M population size. While I'd love to be proved wrong, it's hard to dismiss this survey so easily.

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Hitesh Thakkar
Hitesh Thakkar - FIS Payments Software and Services India - India | 10 August, 2016, 20:39

Thanks Ketharaman for sharing it. There is logical reasoning to it and learned something new about survey results maths.

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