Peanut butter and jelly, fries and ketchup, Pinky and The Brain
(narf!)…all things that fit together naturally, much like cash and the local convenience store (c-store). In fact, cash seems ready-made for the convenience shopper, a fact borne out by recent research.
A late 2015 consumer study, sponsored by Cardtronics, examined consumer cash use in a variety of settings. One of the clearest results of that study was the preference to use cash when making c-store purchases. Fully 63 percent of respondents used cash in the convenience store, far surpassing the next most used payment instrument in the channel, the debit card with 41 percent use.
The dominance of cash should come as no surprise though. The same study revealed that 77 percent of consumers use cash for purchases under $5, the staple of quick in-and-out convenience purchases, a result seen consistently through the years. For example, a consumer survey
sponsored by CreditCards.com in August 2014 showed cash was used about 65% of the time for purchases of $5 and under.
Another reason convenience stores and cash go so well together is the fact that convenience stores are so clearly linked with the ATM in the minds of consumers. The convenience of filling up the gas tank, the coffee cup, and the wallet all in one stop has long led to increased use of the c-store ATM. Across Cardtronics’ ATM network, ATMs in the convenience channel have a higher average number of withdrawals than any other mainstream retail ATM channel. In a consumer survey of ATM users conducted in 2012 by Nielsen on behalf of Cardtronics, the convenience channel had the highest incidence of regular ATM use of all the retail categories surveyed. Furthermore, a full three-quarters – more than any other channel – of those who used the ATM at a convenience store had planned to do so before arriving at the store, showing the degree to which consumers associate the convenience store with cash access.
At the end of the day, cash is convenient – it’s quick, simple, and always ready – so it just makes sense that the most convenient form of payment would go so well with the convenience store, that bastion of all things quick and easy.
SVP of Marketing