Javascript is not enabled.

Javascript must be enabled to use this site. Please enable Javascript in your browser and try again.

Skip to content
Content starts here
CLOSE ×

Search

Leaving AARP.org Website

You are now leaving AARP.org and going to a website that is not operated by AARP. A different privacy policy and terms of service will apply.

Most Boomers Aren’t Ready to Go Fully Cashless

Survey finds that older people still prefer using currency

spinner image Most Boomers Aren’t Ready to Go Fully Cashless
Alamy

A newly released survey by the personal finance website CreditCards.com shows that while millennials and Gen Xers increasingly prefer to use credit cards to make even small purchases, older Americans aren’t quite ready to embrace the concept of a cashless society.

The poll found that 70 percent of boomers and those in the 72-and-older age group still use paper currency or coins to pay for items that cost $5 or less. That’s a contrast with millennials, 53 percent of whom prefer to use a debit or credit card for small purchases.

spinner image Image Alt Attribute

AARP Membership

Join AARP for $12 for your first year when you sign up for Automatic Renewal. Get instant access to members-only products and hundreds of discounts, a free second membership, and a subscription to AARP The Magazine

Join Now

Overall, 17 percent of Americans now prefer to use credit or debit cards to pay for small items. That’s up from 11 percent in a similar poll conducted last year.  The most recent survey included 674 credit card holders of various ages.

A study conducted last year by the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco found that consumers used cash in 32 percent of all transactions in 2015, down from 40 percent in 2012. They used debit or credit cards for 48 percent of purchases.

Another 11 percent of payments were made through electronic transfers, and 3 percent were made by some other payment method.

The San Francisco Fed also found that people have decreasing amounts of cash in their possession. The average consumer has $55 on hand, down from $59 in 2012.

Discover AARP Members Only Access

Join AARP to Continue

Already a Member?

spinner image membership-card-w-shadow-192x134

Get instant access to members-only products and hundreds of discounts, a free second membership, and a subscription to AARP The Magazine.