Consumers Prefer Cards to Cash, Survey Says


What’s your go-to payment option – cards, cash or check? According to a new survey, most consumers prefer credit and debit cards when making in-person and online purchases. recently surveyed more than 500 people ages 18 and older, and it reports that when it comes to card-present transactions, 42 percent of respondents prefer to pay with a debit card and 38 percent reach for their credit card (which, it turns out, was the preferred payment method for people ages 51 and up). Just 17 percent expressed a preference for cash and only 3 percent wrote a check.

Interestingly, when asked which option is the safest to use in person, the numbers shifted a bit. Forty-one percent said credit card, 29 percent indicated debit card, 25 percent thought cash and 5 percent went with checks.

For online purchases, 50 percent of respondents prefer to pay with a credit card, 30 percent use a debit card and 20 percent use PayPal or another service linked to their bank account. Asked which option they thought was safest to use online, 46 percent said credit card, 34 percent thought PayPal or similar service and 20 percent chose debit card.

Additional survey findings include:

  • 46 percent of those paying by debit card say it’s convenient and allows them to pay with real money
  • 46 percent of people who use a credit card say they earn rewards for doing so
  • 44 percent of those who pay with cash say they are less tempted to overspend
  • 70 percent of check writers like having a paper trail to keep track of where their money goes

The survey also provides insight into why and how certain age groups choose their preferred payment method. For example, people in the 31-40 age range are most likely to use a credit card when they don’t have enough money to cover their purchase, while those in the 51-60 group are most likely to use a debit card so they don’t overspend.

Whatever your personal payment preference may be, if you’re in business it’s important to accommodate the preferences of all your customers. With a merchant account from TransFirst®, you’re covered! Whether you’re interested in traditional point-of-sale processing, online or mobile, TransFirst has the products and services you need to meet all your customers’ payment expectations. Talk to a representative today to find out how simple and cost effective payment card processing can be.


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