Cash Highlights

Once printed by the Bureau of Engraving and Printing, new Federal Reserve notes make their way to the public through the 12 Federal Reserve Banks and their network of cash operations. Learn how by watching the latest video on the website.

Did you know that consumers who generally prefer debit or credit cards are 49 percent likely to use cash for purchases less than $20? View the infographic based on a working paper by the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco’s Cash Product Office.


With the increase in electronic payments, it has been difficult to determine how personal preferences impact the demand for cash as a payment instrument. By analyzing data on demographics and stated payment preferences, this FedNotes paper provides evidence on the determinants of cash usage for small value payments, and particularly how consumers’ stated payment instrument preference and the amount of the purchase affect their propensity to use cash.


It’s commonplace these days to predict the demise of cash. However, evidence from the Diary of Consumer Payment Choice (DCPC) suggests that consumers choose to use cash more frequently than any other payment instrument, including debit or credit cards. Cash plays a dominant role for small-value transactions, is the leading payment instrument for many types of purchases, and stands as the key alternative when other options are not available. Using the DCPC data, this FedNotes paper explores where, how, and why people use the various payment options and highlights the key and enduring roles cash continues to play in consumer transactions.