Cashless Society? No, Not Yet.

Source:  Professional Numismatists Guild

Predictions that we’ll “soon be a cashless society” have been around for decades.  For example, in 1966 the World Future Society’s magazine, Futurist, incorrectly forecast that “credit cards will virtually eliminate currency by 1986.”

While many people use credit and debit cards today, there is still a huge demand for cash in the United States. In 2017 alone (as of September 21, 2017), the United States Mint has produced more than 10 billion coins so far this year to meet the demands for circulating coinage. In 2016 (the last year for which full production figures are available), the U.S. Treasury Bureau of Engraving and Printing printed more than 7 billion pieces of paper money.

  • Coins have been around for about 27-hundred years; they’re not going to vanish next week, next month or next year. Some critics warn that if you only have digital cash you will lose all privacy and anonymity regarding transactions.
  • While some people now use online banking and bill paying and use smart phones for financial transactions, the recent hurricanes that hit Texas, Florida and Puerto Rico showed what happens when electrical power is knocked out to ATM machines and there are widespread mobile phone and wifi service outages leaving storm victims with no quick access to cash or cyber currency.
  • Do consumers really want to get rid of coins and paper money? How would you stash away a few dollars in a piggy bank?  When the Tooth Fairy visits, will children find a MasterCard® under their pillows?
  • Do all merchants really want to eliminate cash transactions? Some business owners don’t want to handle cash, but others depend on it.
  • On the consumerism side, users sometimes have to pay debit card transaction and ATM fees to use their own money, as well as potentially face high credit card interest rates.
  • Coins and currency are “history you can hold in your hands,” and their designs often involve social and cultural issues as well as economics. Whose portrait do you want on your Visa® card?

Founded in 1955, the Professional Numismatists Guild (PNG) is a nonprofit organization of the country’s top rare coin and paper money experts.  For additional information, call 951-587-8300  E-mail: info@pngdealers.org  Web: www.PNGdealers.org