Youth Voices: Among U.S. Teens, Cash Rules

September 19, 2019

Youth Voices: Among U.S. Teens, Cash Rules

JA USA released the results of its annual survey of U.S. teens and money on August 12, 2019, to coincide with National Financial Awareness Day on August 14.

Perhaps one of the more surprising results is that 80 percent of teens who receive money from parents or caregivers say it is in the form of cash and 75 percent of teens say they have made purchases in cash. Despite this, budgeting apps are gaining in popularity.

The survey, conducted by Wakefield Research in July 2019, asked 1,000 U.S. teens between the ages of 13 and 18 for their thoughts on various aspects of financial life.

Key findings from the survey include:

  • A quarter of teens (26%) who received money from parents or guardians said it was wired into their bank account, while nearly as many (23%) used their parent or caregiver's credit card for online purchases. Fewer (10%) used financial apps like Apple Pay or Venmo to receive money or purchase items.

  • Despite the use of cash, nearly half of teens (48%) said they do use mobile or online apps to manage their money, such as for budgeting and planning purposes.

  • Nearly one-in-five teens (17%) has never been in a physical bank and a third of teens (34%) don't have a bank account. Of those who do, the largest percentage (35%) got them at 12 years of age or younger.

  • Of those with a bank account, most have a debit card (62%), while far fewer use a checkbook (18%).

  • Most teens (71%) say they are concerned about their credit score, while nearly half (44%) are concerned about future student loan debt.

These survey results show that today’s teens are very much aware of the need to effectively manage money and that for many, technology is being used as a tool to achieve that, even when teens are working with cash. It’s encouraging to see that today’s young people are being proactive in how they view money and are using resources at their disposal to become better stewards of their financial futures.
— Jack E. Kosakowski, President and CEO of Junior Achievement USA

Read more about the National Financial Awarenss Day survey from JA USA.