Personal Finance

Move over bitcoin, cash is still king

Key Points
  • Some 27 percent of people prefer cash, just second to debit cards, according to Cardtronics and Edelman Intelligence.
  • People like cash for its simplicity.
Customer paying cash at the checkout counter.
Glow Images | Getty Images

You may want to think twice before paying your bills with plastic or cryptocurrencies.

A lot of people still prefer cash, in fact 27 percent of them do, according to a recent study by Cardtronics and Edelman Intelligence, which surveyed 1,000 people in May and June.

And it's not only Americans who favor paper money — a separate study by PayPal found that cash is still king in most of Asia's major markets.

Cardtronics said people might also favor paper for security reasons — and they may be right.

The company said 84 percent of respondents are worried about data security, and two-thirds said they make payment decisions based on which form is considered the most secure, up 6 percent since 2016.

Just this week, fast-food chain Sonic confirmed that credit and debit card numbers were compromised in a malware attack at some locations. Last week, Whole Foods reported a data breach of credit card information used in taprooms and full table-service restaurants in some of the grocery chain's stores.

Cybercurrencies don't seem to be much safer than plastic. Hackers have recently stolen millions of dollars worth of digital currencies.

With more and more security concerns, people may be right to seek comfort in paper money.

Harley J. Spiller, author of "Keep the Change: A Collector's Tales of Lucky Pennies, Counterfeit C-Notes, and Other Curious Currency," likes paper money for another reason: It's simple.

"My phone crashes, my computer dies, but my penny collection from when I was five is still here," he said. "When it's on the screen, it all feels like a piece of glass. Coins have ridged edges — there's something to touch and fidget with. The rest is in the cloud, and I don't get it. I don't have a direct connection."

Whatever the reason people seem to favor cash, it doesn't seem like it's going anywhere anytime soon. Three-quarters of millennials in the survey said they can't imagine a world without cash and that they still use it regularly.