Is America going cashless?

Graeme BruceBusiness Data Journalist
May 21, 2020, 3:54 PM UTC

Cash may no longer be king, thanks to the coronavirus.

Fewer than half (46%) of Americans have been using cashless payments during the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a recent YouGov survey. The shift comes at a time when many essential businesses have stopped accepting cash or have migrated to online operations entirely.

Roughly a quarter (26%) of Americans said they’ve been using cash and cashless payments about the same as they did prior to the outbreak and about one in 10 (12%) said they’ve been using cash more.

According to YouGov Profiles data, about a third (36%) of Americans who generally like to use cash when making purchases are using cashless methods more, while those who have reported an income of between $40,000 and $80,000 are also more likely (53%) to use cashless payment methods.

The data reveals those who are very or fairly worried of becoming seriously unwell or die as a result of COVID-19 are more likely (48%) to have been using cashless payments more frequently in the last two months.

During this period in which nearly every facet of our daily lives has morphed to accommodate life with the virus, Venmo, one of the leading digital wallet apps, has seen an increase in its Consideration score, which is based on the question: “When you are in the market to open a financial services account...from which of the following [brands] would you consider opening an account?”

The brand had already been on the rise since pre-pandemic days, but between March 11 when COVID-19 was declared a pandemic by the World Health Organization and March 18, the brand’s consideration score rose by 24 percent. Since late April, its Consideration score among those who prefer to use cash when making purchases has also increased substantially.

Methodology: Cash and cashless payment results are based on a sample size of 9,317 US adults between May 1 and May 19. Venmo results are based on an average daily sample of 1,856 US adults and 560 US adults who said they like to use cash when making purchases. Figures are based on a four-week moving average.

Image: Getty