Americans are using less cash today than they did 10 years ago, according to the results of a survey released today by MasterCard.
The "World Beyond Cash" survey asked Americans for their two cents about the growing trend towards a cashless society, including their spending plans for Mother's Day and the frustrations of dealing with cash.
"Commerce has changed dramatically over the past decade thanks to the internet and e-commerce, and this survey underscores that Americans are already shifting towards a cashless society," said Carlos Menendez, Group Executive, Global Debit at MasterCard Worldwide. "For consumers, merchants and governments alike, MasterCard's technology and expertise is focused on accelerating the global trend beyond cash by helping make electronic payments safe, simple and smart."
The 2012 MasterCard World Beyond Cash Survey is a poll of more than 1,000 respondents intended to create a snapshot of Americans' views and behaviors toward the increasing use of electronic payments in lieu of cash. Among the key findings:
The Speed of "Change"
Three in four Americans (73 percent) say they use less cash today than 10 years ago. From online shopping with credit, debit and prepaid cards to contactless payments and making purchases via electronic apps, consumers have more choices than ever when it comes to electronic payments - all of which offer a host of advantages that cash can't touch like, speed, convenience, guaranteed payment for merchants, and security and transparency for consumers, merchants and governments alike.
Reporter and stylist Lilliana Vazquez has made the shift and embraces being able to "tap and pay." "I'm always running around - New York is a fast paced city and having to stop to get cash out of an ATM or dig for money in my huge handbag slows me down and that's never a good thing in my business," she said. "I thought being able to swipe my credit card was the ultimate in ease, but now all you have to do is "tap and go"…talk about convenience."
Making Mom Smile from Afar: Priceless
This Mother's Day nearly twice as many Americans plan to purcans plan to purchase a gift for mom electronically as compared to paying with cash (45 percent and 25 percent, respectively). People who live far from home and need to order a gift online or call the florist in mom's hometown must use electronic payments instead of cash.
Six percent plan to simply give mom a phone call, using neither cash nor electronic payments because, "it's the thought that counts."
There Must Be A Better Way
Most Americans have experienced frustration when dealing with cash - whether trying to get a vending machine to accept a crumpled bill (63 percent), waiting days for a check to clear (40 percent), waiting for people to find exact change (40 percent), or finding the time to get to an ATM (29 percent).
And in spite of the fact that ABC News has reported 94 percent of bills carry bacteria, one in two Americans (49 percent) admitted that they don't typically wash their hands after handling money.
"It's clear that people want better ways to pay, and we're inventing them at MasterCard," continued MasterCard's Menendez. "As a technology company that's a key player in the payments industry, we're constantly coming up with new innovations - like mobile and contactless payments - that, simply put, are designed to make life easier."
Imagining the World Beyond Cash
Members of Gen X (ages 30 - 39) - who came of age during the advent of electronic banking, online shopping and are now in the midst of the mobile wallet revolution - are most in favor of paying for everything electronically and a world in which they wouldn't have to carry cash (61 percent). A significant portion (44 percent) of members of the baby boomer generation (age 55 and over) also favors a cashless society.
Nicholas Lee, from EZ-Link Contactless in Singapore believes in the future of electronic payments over cash. "So, moving forward, if you look at projections from around the world in terms of mobile commerce, the wallet in the phone is well-positioned to really be the catalyst to move contactless payments or cashless payments in a very, very big way."
On the heels of the World Beyond Cash survey, today MasterCard also announced a "Cash Less" sweepstakes which asks the question: "I find myself using cash less because…" Stories will be gathered via the Cashless Conversations blog and on Twitter using the hashtag #CashlessConvo, and 15 winners will receive $50 prepaid MasterCard cards. Visit the Cashless Conversations blog for more details on how to participate and Official Rules. NO PURCHASE NECESSARY. OPEN TO LEGAL RESIDENTS OF THE 50 UNITED STATES OR THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA WHO ARE 18 OR OLDER. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED. OFFICIAL RULES.
The nationally-representative online survey was conducted among 1048 adults in the United States from April 5-9, 2012. A 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.