Gen Zs are voting with their feet – cash is their preferred method of payment


A global research survey conducted by Bank of America found that Gen Z consumers prefer to pay using cash. The survey also revealed that Gen Z consumers also put quality above price, prefer material goods to experiences such as travel and are very much against taking on debt, whether it be credit card debt or bank loans.

Gen Z—consisting of 3.5 billion people born between 1996 and 2015—it is the first generation to have no experience of a pre-internet world. Given 85% of teens surveyed have access to a smartphone and 45% say they are online ‘almost constantly’, it may seem surprising they are also more likely to choose cash than older generations. However, the debt aversion highlighted by Bank of America’s research may go some way to explaining this, alongside the complete absence of credit cards from their top payment choices.

The survey conducted by Bank of America was done with a sample size of 14 500 individuals aged 16+ living in 12 countries around the world. The survey broke down favoured payment options, with cash as a payment option coming out on top with Gen Zs. Mobile payment apps came in second with debit cards in third position. Previous generations placed cards top with cash typically in third place.

Other noteworthy results from the survey were:

  • o 14% of Gen Z expected their bank to have physical branches. 
  • o One in three would trust a robot to make their financial decisions when it comes to investments.
  • o Four out of five Gen Z’s take into account environmental, social and corporate governance issues when evaluating which corporate to invest their money with.

It seems the Gen Z revolution is starting as the first generation born into an online world is now entering the workforce and compelling other generations to adapt to them. While it may be that Gen Z are all about technology and the need for instant gratification, it seems that the old school traditions still exist in terms of cash and the “stickiness” factor that it possess’ s with Gen Z.

Cash is certainly in good hands right now especially with Gen Z consumers who vote cash above all other payment options available.