Holiday shoppers prefer cash

Cash will be king this holiday season as millennials continue to prove averse to using credit cards and mobile payment adoption remains slow.

Seven in 10 Americans plan to use either cash (39 percent) or a debit card (31 percent) for most of their holiday purchases, according to a new study.

Millennials are the most averse to credit (48 percent favor debit cards and 36 percent prefer cash), and 18 to 29-year-olds chose debit cards almost twice as much as older adults. They even prefer paper coupons over digital or mobile and are more likely to visit physical stores on Thanksgiving than any other age group.

Mobile payments, while growing as platforms proliferate, aren't popular among any demographics. Just 14 percent of U.S. adults who use a smartphone or a similar handheld device plan to use services such as Apple Pay or Android Pay even once this season, including 19 percent of millennials.

Among those who don't plan to make mobile payments, the top reasons were "not secure enough" (36 percent) and "other payment methods are more convenient" (31 percent).

"The most common misconception surrounding mobile payments is that they are not secure," said Mike Cetera, analyst. "Truth be told, fraud is much more likely to occur on ordinary credit and debit card transactions. And of course cash can be lost or stolen without any consumer protections."

The shift this year to EMV, or chip cards, was supposed to offer shoppers and retailers greater protection. But few retailers have installed new POS machines to accept the cards, and those who have are experiencing long checkout times as shoppers struggle to understand the system.

For more:
-See this Bankrate press release

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