Trends in Cash Usage

Cash and How We Use It: What Is Cash

Over the last decade, debit card use has increased, while check use has fallen sharply and new mobile payment options are emerging at a rapid pace. Despite these changing payment trends, U.S. currency is still widely used and remains an international store of value with over $1 trillion in circulation globally.

Cash supports continued economic activity, even when electronic payment options are unavailable due to telecommunications outages or natural disasters.

The articles below discuss the role of cash in a changing payments landscape, describe the impact of recent Federal Reserve policy and operational changes, and explore further innovations that may be needed to ensure that the cash payment system is able to adapt to fluctuating trends in consumer usage.

Cash is Dead! Long Live Cash! An essay by President and CEO John C. Williams (April 2013)

Maintaining a Robust and Efficient Cash System in a Changing Landscape FRBSF FedNotes (August 2013)

What’s in your Wallet? The Future of Cash, FRBSF Economic Letter 2011-33 (October 2011)

An Analytical Framework for the Forecasting and Risk Assessment of Demand for FedCash Services Technical Paper (March 2011)