Web Insight: do we need cash anymore?

Some people believe that with the impact of digital technologies on banking, we may soon have a cashless society.  In the Center’s upcoming study on the future of money and banking, overall 32% of respondents somewhat or strongly agreed with the statement that, as banking changes, “we won´t need cash anymore.”

How are views about a cashless society associated with age, education, income, and race/ethnicity?


  • The association of age with this belief was rather modest. Thirty-three percent of those age 18-35 agreed somewhat or strongly with this statement, but so did 31% of those age 36 and above.
  • When age is cut more finely, the age cohort most skeptical with the notion that cash will disappear is the 55-64 year old group, with only 26% somewhat or strongly agreeing.
  • At the other extreme are those age 25-34, with 35% agreeing.
  • But all the other groups cluster near the overall average for somewhat or strongly agreeing: 33% of the 18-24 group, 31% for the 35-44 year olds, 33% of those in the 45-54 year old group, and 32% for those age 65 and above.

So age has some association with views about the need for cash, but the differences are neither large nor consistent.


Education seemed to have little association with views about the need for cash in a digital world. Thirty-two percent of those with a college education or more agreed, and 31% with some college education or less did too.


Income also seemed to have no significant relationship with this issue. Thirty-three percent of those with a household income of less than $75,000 agreed somewhat or strongly that we will not be using cash in the future, as did 31% of those with household incomes of $75,000 or more.


The only other major demographic variable that seemed to be associated with the continuing need for cash was race/ethnicity, and even here the relationship was rather modest.

  • While 31% of white people somewhat or strongly agreed with the statement, 38% of African-Americans did.
  • Latinos came in between these two groups with 35% agreeing somewhat or strongly that, because of digital technologies, we will not need cash in the foreseeable future.


See all Web Insights.

January 2, 2018