Consumers Lose a Bar of Gold1 Every Year by Using Cash!

Consumers across the region are losing a dollar per day, the equivalent of which (per year) is the cost of 6.5 grams of gold

KARACHI / SINGAPORE, April 12, 2013 – Results from the Visa Payment Attitudes Study how that people lose an average of US$365 every year because of cash left forgotten in the house or car, or unused foreign currency from a holiday or business trip. This seemingly small amount that averages a dollar a day is actually the equivalent of the cost of 6.5 grams of gold or supporting a family of four in Bangladesh for a year3!

Busy lifestyles mean consumers often lose track of the little things around them – such as loose change. They are leaving an average of US$80 lying around in cars, homes and offices nclaimed at any one time. Among all the surveyed markets, the Japanese have an astounding US$337 in loose change just lying around forgotten and unused. Indonesians are the most frugal leaving only US$21 lying around at any one time.

Returning home from vacation with a pocket full of coins and foreign notes is also a common occurrence. According to the study, people are bringing home on average US$285 in unused foreign currency4. Singaporeans are bringing back a whopping US$625 in their pockets. They could take a lesson or two from the Indonesians, South Koreans and Taiwanese, who are the savviest at using up their funds bringing back only US$1 in unused currency. While most will keep the remaining cash for future use, about 1 in 5 will give it away or just forget about the leftover cash.

Keeping track of cash can be a hassle, especially with today’s busy – and increasingly globe-trotting – lifestyle. At the same time, people need a secure place to store their funds that they can access anytime, anywhere. We’ve long known that carrying cash can be inconvenient and unreliable, and we now know from this research that consumers are out of pocket by using cash too!‖ explains James Lim, Head of Core Products – Asia Pacific, Central Europe, Middle East and Africa at Visa Worldwide.

―Keeping tabs on their hard-earned money and worrying about carrying cash around is a concern for people in the region too,‖ Mr. Lim continues, ―the majority of respondents (54 percent) said the key reason they have a debit card is because it is convenient to carry around, rather than having a large amount of cash. They also have a debit card to keep their finances in check, with over half (53 percent) saying it is good for smart financial management as they know that the payment is debited directly from their regular bank account.

Commenting on the peace of mind that this means for her, one respondent said, ―On one hand, I pay all my bills using (my) debit card while on the other hand I also use it to instantly buy concert tickets and movie tickets online. However, the biggest advantage for me is that I am in full control of my finances.

The study results showed that, on average, consumers in the region own two debit cards, but it also revealed that awareness for using debit cards abroad is low, with only 42 percent being aware that they can be used around the world. However debits cards, and in particular Visa debit cards, are widely accepted across the globe and can be used in-store, for shopping online and even – for that purchase that really needs cash – for withdrawing cash from foreign ATMs.
Responding to the study, one Japanese businessman recalls a recent trip, “Once, on a business trip abroad, I mistakenly put my money and credit cards into my suitcase and gave it to the check-in counter. By the time I realized, it was too late and with the small change I had I couldn’t even buy a sandwich. At a loss I rummaged through my passport case and came across a debit card that I hardly ever used. With that card I was able to buy a meal, a beer, and even a magazine before my flight – making it a much more pleasant trip than it might have been!

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