NEW YORK ( MainStreet) — Nearly eight in ten Americans (78%) carry less than $50 in cash on a daily basis, according to a new report.

Consumers are opting instead to carry debit, credit or pre-paid cards or using their mobile devices to pay for discretionary items.

Nearly half (49%) of Americans carry $20 or less each day, including 9% who don't carry any cash at all. Only 7% of Americans typically carry $100 or more.

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"If we move to a truly cashless society, it won't be much of an adjustment for most Americans," said Greg McBride, CFA,'s chief financial analyst. "The vast majority of Americans carry $50 or less on a daily basis, which seems to indicate that it's more out of necessity than a desire to pay with cash."

Women tend to keep less cash on hand with 86% who carry less than $50 on a daily basis, compared to only 70% of men. Women were more likely than men to say they carry less than $20.

"There is a continued migration away from cash into more convenient methods of payments such as debit and credit cards," he said. "That's one reason why people don't carry a whole lot of cash."

A lack of cash also signifies the number of people who simply don't have extra money in their budgets .

"A lot of people don't carry extra cash, because they don't have it," McBride said. "Their budgets are tight and their incomes are stagnant ."

The survey results were fairly even across age groups, income levels and educational attainment. People with incomes of $30,000 or less were more likely to say they had less than $20 in their pocket than people with higher incomes.

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Respondents from the West were more than twice as likely as their counterparts in the Midwest or South to say they don't carry cash.

Not having any cash could put a consumer at risk in case of an emergency such as needing to pay for an unexpected toll, said Jason Fischbach, 24, who works in the public relations industry in New York.

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"This is pretty interesting. as I would have assumed the trend would be reversed given the increased fears about credit card and data security and the increased prices of just about everything," he said. "Obviously, more stores accept credit cards than in the past, but it still seems like an unnecessary risk to not have any cash on you."

Some consumers find that carrying cash means they spend a little less and are able to stick to their budgets better.