Jamaicans Choose Cash

Mar 4, 2022


A new report from the Caribbean Policy Research Institute (CAPRI) has found Jamaicans prefer cash for both spending and receiving payments, leading to relatively low usage of cashless options.

The report— Cheque In: Increasing Access to the Formal Financial System—notes that more than two-thirds of the adult population receives their wages in cash, and less than half own a debit card. While around 17 percent of Jamaican adults lack a bank account, 45 percent of people reported receiving their wages either in cash or by cheque despite having an account. Of these individuals, 72 percent were highly inclined towards tangible assets and thus prefer cash over cashless options.

The preference for cash extends to savings, with the report stating 75 percent of employed persons prefer physical notes to digital ones, which, it says, translates into an inclination to receive and hold cash instead of storing it in a bank account.

Exploring the popularity of cash, CAPRI says many people choose it due to fears of economic instability, given a history of bank failures and inflation-related issues. It also points to most cashless payment options requiring internet connectivity, which is not always available or reliable. Working independently of the need for such infrastructure, cash is an immediate, always-usable payment option.

There is a strong preference among employed Jamaicans towards holding cash, a tangible asset, hindering the usage of digital payments.
"Cheque In: Increasing Accessto the Formal Financial SystemCAPRI
Last Updated: Jan 12, 2024