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A Foolish Take: More Americans Are Embracing Cashless Payments

Leo Sun, The Motley Fool

A growing number of Americans are ditching cash, according to a Pew Research Center study. The survey found that 29% of U.S. adults no longer used cash for their weekly purchases, marking a 5-percentage-point jump from 2015.

Chart showing percentage of Americans who use cash for weekly purchases.

Data source: Pew Research Center. Chart by author.

The study also found that higher-income Americans were more likely to stop using cash, with 41% of respondents with annual household income of $75,000 or above spending no cash on their weekly purchases, compared to 30% of respondents with income between $30,000 and $74,999, and 18% of respondents with annual income below $30,000.

That's great news for credit card companies like Visa and Mastercard, as well as online payment service providers like PayPal and Square (NYSE: SQ). Therefore, it isn't surprising that all four companies are expected to generate double-digit sales growth next year. Square leads the pack with an average estimate of 43% growth.

These companies should have plenty of room to grow. Total global digital payments transactions could surge from $2.9 trillion in 2017 to $6.5 trillion in 2023, according to Mordor Intelligence. This suggests that cash's popularity will continue to decline.

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Leo Sun owns shares of Square. The Motley Fool owns shares of and recommends MA, PYPL, and Square. The Motley Fool owns shares of V and has the following options: short January 2019 $82 calls on PYPL and short January 2019 $80 calls on Square. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.