While many forecast that the use of cash will disappear in the United States, a new report from Aite Group says it is “far from vanishing.”

That is at least partially because of consumers’ desire to avoid credit cards.

On Wednesday Aite released a report, “The Less Cash Society,” which found that while cash use is declining overall, some generations, like those from Gen Y, are more likely to use cash today than they were two years ago.

To be sure, consumers’ use of cash will decline by a total of 17%, or 4% per year, between 2010 and 2015, dropping to slightly more than $1 trillion, Aite stated. The new report is based on two surveys conducted by Aite Group - one of 4,696 U.S. consumers, conducted in August 2010, and one of 1,039 U.S. consumers, conducted in October 2010 - to determine the use of cash as a payment method in person-to-person (P2P), bill-pay, and retail transactions in the United States.

Yet while 30% of consumers use cash less often than they did two years ago, 20% use it more often.

“Despite forecasts of a cashless society, the United States is nowhere near the realization of this vision,” says Ron Shevlin, senior analyst with Aite Group and author of this report, in a statement. “In fact, if the use of cash were to decline by 17% every five years—our forecast for 2015—the use of cash in the United States wouldn’t fall below US$1 billion before the year 2205, roughly 200 years from now.”

Aite Group estimates that U.S. consumers’ use of cash totaled US$1.2 trillion from three types of payments in 2010: person-to-person, bill payments, and retail transactions. The fact is more consumers are taking more money out of ATMs, although that doesn’t necessarily reflect on consumers’ use of cash, says Aite.

Meanwhile, 62% of all Americans agree that they would prefer to pay with cash or check than use a credit card.

In addition, Aite Group believes that banks will push debit card use despite the proposed regulatory changes. Yes, banks will lose revenue if the interchange rate on debit cards is reduced to $0.12 per transaction, but there is no revenue from the use of cash or checks either.

The largest component of cash use is in retail, says Aite, which estimates total expenditures to be slightly less than $520 billion in 2010, or 43% of all cash use.


Register or login for access to this item and much more

All Bank Investment Consultant content is archived after seven days.

Community members receive:
  • All recent and archived articles
  • Conference offers and updates
  • A full menu of enewsletter options
  • Web seminars, white papers, ebooks

Don't have an account? Register for Free Unlimited Access