*U.S. teens four times less-likely to use cash at retail than the general public
With more brands experimenting with cashless stores and restaurants, teens may be better able to adapt to the changing payment landscape than their parents and grandparents.
**Teens rarely use cash because they don’t like using it
Aggregate transaction data from teenagers using Current shows they rarely turn to cash. In September only six percent of teen transactions were ATM withdrawals.
Why aren’t teens visiting ATMs more often? Comprehensive interviews with teens reveal they don’t like to carry cash. Teens report it is a ‘pain’ to carry around bills and change. They say cash is too easy to forget or lose, and if it gets stolen there is no way to recover it. What do teens want to carry with them? They prefer to carry nothing more than their smartphone and their debit card.
Teens prefer to carry nothing more than their smartphone and their debit card.
“When we ask teens why they prefer debit cards over cash we get consistent answers: they cite convenience, control, budget visibility, and safety,” said Stuart Sopp, CEO and founder of Current. “But the biggest driver is smartphone adoption. Teenagers want to be able to do anything and everything with their phone, and that is helping to drive the adoption of digital payments.”
Cash won’t always buy you lunch
The burger chain Shake Shack was the latest restaurant to open a cashless storefront, joining brands like the salad chain Sweetgreens and clothing retailer Kit and Go, which don’t accept cash for payment. Retailers are moving to cashless transactions for a host of reasons: faster payments increase turnaround and shorten lines, and removing cash also reduces opportunities for losses due to manual error at the cash register and theft.
“Few adults would leave the house without several debit and credit cards, and probably some cash in their wallet,” said Sopp. “For teens, physical wallets are a novelty, like a landline phone. In 15 years you won’t want to be making wallets for a living.”