Nearly Eight in 10 Americans Carry Less Than $50 in Cash

Nearly Eight in 10 Americans Carry Less Than $50 in Cash
Financial Security Declines as More Americans Worry about Job Security

Caroline Farhat
Publicist, Bankrate, Inc.

NEW YORK, May 12, 2014 /PRNewswire/ — Nearly eight in 10 Americans (78%) carry less than $50 in cash on a daily basis, according to a new RATE -2.38% report. Breaking the numbers down even further, 49% of Americans carry $20 or less each day, including nine percent who don’t carry any cash at all. Only seven percent of Americans typically carry $100 or more.

Eighty-six percent of women carry less than $50 on a daily basis, compared to only 70% of men. The results were fairly even across age groups, income levels and educational attainment.

“If we move to a truly cashless society, it won’t be much of an adjustment for most Americans,” said Greg McBride, CFA,’s chief financial analyst. “The vast majority of Americans carry $50 or less on a daily basis, which seems to indicate that it’s more out of necessity than a desire to pay with cash.” also announced that its Financial Security Index clocked in at 98.7 in May, declining for a second month in a row (it was 100.5 in April) and indicating deterioration for only the second time in 2014. Readings below 100 indicate lower financial security than the previous year. The index’s five components are savings, debt, net worth, job security and overall financial situation.

Feelings on job security turned negative for the first time since November 2013, as Americans were apparently unswayed by the strong April jobs report.

The percentage of American workers feeling more secure in their jobs now than one year ago declined from 24% in April to 18% in May.

Savings, consistently a sore spot of financial security, declined further with those feeling less comfortable with their savings outnumbering those who are more comfortable by a two-to-one margin.

May is the second month in a row — and just the fourth month in the past year — that Americans are less comfortable with their debt than one year prior.

Net worth is now the strongest component of financial security, with just one in six Americans reporting a lower net worth than one year ago.

“With rising home prices and stock markets near record highs, it’s not surprising to see that net worth is the strongest component of Americans’ financial security,” said McBride.

Americans are neutral regarding their overall financial situations. Twenty-five percent say they’re better off than one year ago, 25% say they are worse off and the remaining 50% say they are about the same.

The survey was conducted by Princeton Survey Research Associates International (PSRAI) and can be seen in its entirety here:

PSRAI obtained telephone interviews with a nationally representative sample of 1,002 adults living in the continental United States. Interviews were conducted by landline (502) and cell phone (500, including 288 without a landline phone) in English and Spanish by Princeton Data Source from May 1-4, 2014. Statistical results are weighted to correct known demographic discrepancies. The margin of sampling error for the complete set of weighted data is plus or minus 3.5 percentage points.

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