Thanks to Larissa Faw of Forbes for her coverage of our little payments experiment. Faw covers Milliennial women workplace trends, with a focus on entrepreneurs, finance and innovation. We at CEME are grateful for the interest in our experiential learning module.

These experiments also found that Millennials aren’t overly concerned about their privacy when making online or mobile transactions. “When you are making the payment choice in line at the grocery store, it comes down whether cash or [cashless] is right for that moment. Now, when you are making decisions about your payment adoptions, or how many credit cards you will carry, or whether you will have a PayPal account — [these are] the time[s] when you have privacy concerns and think about identity theft,” says Mazzotta.

One of more challenging lessons from these experiments is simply determining what constitutes a cash or cashless payment. “If I download a $30-off coupon off the Internet to use at a restaurant, is that considered a cashless transaction?” asks Mazzotta. “When is something a discount and when it is a payment?” Another grey area was determining the payment category when someone adds money to debit cards, such as monthly subway passes. When that card subtracts a fee upon each individual use, does each swipe count as a cash transaction?,” asks Mazzotta.

“It’s kind of like a zero-dollar payment since once you’ve bought it, there really aren’t any further transactions other than to validate the account.” As such, subway passes were banned for the cardless group, says Mazzotta. But, he adds, “We didn’t give people a hard time about that. They were doing their best. The key principle is that the cards are using electronic networks to make payments.”

Both MasterCard and Tufts University are planning to relaunch their respective experiments. Tufts, for its part, plans to make its contest more challenging for cash competitors. “When students want to travel home for Thanksgiving, they will be hit with the issue of buying tickets. How do you buy plane tickets in cash?” asks Mazzotta.


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