The Less-Cash Society

by Ron Shevlin

Talk about the death of cash goes back thousands of years. Of course, to many Gen Yers, the world began in 1978, so what ever happened before that is irrelevant.

Recently, talk of a cashless society has grown louder with the growing popularity of debit cards, prepaid cards, and digital wallets. A Barron’s article titled The End of Cash? said:

“This year, greenbacks will account for an estimated 29% of U.S. retail payments, according to McKinsey & Co., down from 36% a decade ago. Among the wealthy and the upper-middle class, cash is almost extinct in the U.S., having given way to credit and debit cards. McKinsey says that cash comprises just 2% of point-of-sale payments for households earning more than $60,000 a year. Cash’s disappearance has been slow but inexorable.”

My take: We are nowhere — NOWHERE — near a cashless society.


First off, if the percentage of retail payments made in cash dropped from 36% to 29% over the course of a decade, that’s not even a single percentage point per year!

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