Cash Is Still King … Sort of

The payments world may be moving inexorably toward digital, but there’s still a place for cold, hard cash.

And in some retail and foodservice channels, that place is surprisingly large.

Data from Checkout Tracking -- which is based on purchases across channels, over time, online and at brick and mortar, regardless of payment method -- shows that consumers’ use of cash varies widely depending upon where they’re buying.

For example:

  • Nearly a third of receipts from drug stores are for cash transaction. That’s the highest percentage we see in our data.
  • By contrast, only 10 percent of receipts from gas stations are cash-based. That’s the lowest number we see.
  • Roughly a quarter of the receipts from mass merchants, off-price retailers, grocery stores, and office-supply stores are for cash purchases.
  • Cash transactions at restaurants constitute about a quarter of receipts too. But there’s considerable variance by type of restaurant. For example, less than 10 percent of receipts from full-service/sit-down restaurants are for cash purchases.

The lesson in this in this clear: If you want to understand all your customers and their purchasing patterns, you need visibility into all the ways they buy. Looking solely at credit or debit transactions, just like looking only at sales from brick and mortar, never paints a full picture.

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