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Study: 93% American Shoppers Still Pay With Cash

Paper and plastic are still being used to pay for most point-of-sale purchases, according to a report released Tuesday by Blackhawk Network.

Despite so-called “contactless” payments picking up steam among shoppers, cash and cards continue to make up the majority of consumer transaction activity. The research, titled “How America Pays in 2015,” surveyed more than 1,000 U.S. shoppers in April and discovered that 93 percent of respondents used cash over the past year, rating it as the most convenient payment method, while 67 and 68 percent used credit and debit cards respectively.

By comparison, only 14 percent made mobile payments on smartphones or tablets.

“Consumers still have a strong preference for traditional payment methods like debit cards and prepaid cards. Those payment tools are not going away anytime soon, even as interest in and usage of new payment methods grows,” said Teri Llach, chief marketing officer for the prepaid and payment products provider. “Our findings prove that payment is not either-or when it comes to legacy payments versus emerging products; it’s really about convenience and providing a mix of options.”

With that being said, interest in cashless payments and other innovations is on the rise, with 68 percent of mobile-payment users surveyed saying they’re using the alternative method more today than they did last year, while mobile wallets are now being used by 25 percent of smartphone owners. Cash and checks experienced the greatest declines in use overall.

Meanwhile, somewhat surprisingly, shoppers deployed gift cards and prepaid debit cards for a significant number of purchases: 48 percent of transactions involved retailer gift cards; Visa or MasterCard gift cards were used in 45 percent of cases; and 33 percent used prepaid debit cards.