The Decline of Cash

Funnel made of hundred dollar banknotes

Those of us who have been around for a while can remember a time when cash was king. In fact, using cash marked you as a hardworking, ethical person who had been patient in saving up whatever dollars were needed to make a purchase.

Credit cards were suspect as agents of ruin. Credit cards were a sign that you were reckless, borrowing money to satisfy your impatience. Credit card users were morally suspect and maybe even lazy.

That was, as with so many things, then and this is now. Credit cards are an essential part of life. Virtually everyone uses them, and paying off credit cards is the cultural norm.

I found an excellent illustration of how far cash has fallen as the payment of choice in an Axios article by Kate Marino entitled, “The pandemic-fueled decline of cash.”

Only 19% of transactions take place using cash. With cash-only businesses opening up, that percentage is going to drop.

As far as cash and morality are concerned, the tables have turned. According to the Axios article, cash is mainly used for off-the-books transactions, many of them illegal. I was amazed to learn from the article that:

The $100 bill accounts for more than 80% of U.S. bills in circulation.

Hundred dollar bills are rarely used in retail transactions, and are more commonly used for paying for goods and services off the books.

Credit is now king and watch out for cryptocurrencies. The world never ceases to change.

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