Sixty percent of consumers in North America use cash at least weekly to make purchases at a merchant location, down seven percentage points from 2015 – the most significant decline in use of traditional payment methods over the past year, according to a new report from Accenture. Awareness of mobile phone payments increased four percentage points from last year to 56 percent, however the regular use of mobile payments remains flat at 19 percent.

The report – the Accenture 2016 North America Consumer Digital Payments Survey – is based on a survey of more than 4,000 smartphone users in the United States and Canada, and is the most recent report in Accenture’s multi-year research on consumer attitudes about how they want to pay now and in the future.

The survey found that even with the decline in cash use, cash and plastic continue to be the most common payment methods. North American consumers’ use of debit cards for payments in merchant locations has remained consistent at 58 percent, while credit card usage was up three percentage points from the previous year to 53 percent in 2016.

“We are seeing a gradual increase in consumer awareness of mobile phone payments options; however, adoption has remained flat over the past few years,” said Robert Flynn, managing director of Accenture Payments in North America. “Consumers are content to use cash and plastic for their everyday transactions, and while the use of cash is declining overall, it is the most commonly used form of payment – and consumers expect it to remain so in 2020. To shift consumers’ payment behaviors will take more than just providing another ‘me too’ mobile payments option; leading merchants will identify and provide next-generation, value-added services.”

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