Cash may still be king when it comes to small purchases, but debit cards are threatening to end its reign, according to survey results announced Wednesday by CreditCards.com.
Roughly 60% of respondents still pay in cash for purchases below $5, while 27% use debit cards and 11% prefer credit cards. But cash use has declined by 7 percentage points from 2014. During that same time, debit card use rose 5 percentage points and credit card use remained the same.
The divide between cash and card use also appears to fall along age and geographic lines. Cash is the clear go-to for people 50 and older (74%) and for residents of rural areas (70%). Cash also is most popular in the Northeast and Midwest and less popular in the West.
Meanwhile, 48% of millennials use debit cards for small purchases and 18% use credit cards, a sign that card use may increase in years to come.
CreditCards.com said it surveyed a representative sample of 1,000 adults, 616 of whom said they had a credit card from American Express, Visa, MasterCard or Discover.