In 2018, for the first time, cash fell from its position as the most frequently used type of payment in the U.S. Cash use was down 4 percent from 2017, totaling 26 percent of transactions in 2018. Debit cards claimed the top spot, up 5 points to 28 percent.
There are several factors that are contributing to a smaller percentage of non-cash payments. Online shopping and ordering are increasing, which require digital payments. And, in general, there are more payment options to choose from. For example, more consumers are using mobile wallets for in-person payments. But are these signs that the U.S. is becoming a cashless society?
Consumers Still Use Cash
Even though cash is no longer the most commonly used form of payment in the U.S., it is still widely used. While the percentage of transactions using cash has decreased, the Federal Reserve’s 2019 Findings from the Diary of Consumer Payment Choice states that the demand for cash has grown. In 2015, the value of currency in circulation as $1.38 trillion; in 2018, it was more than $1.67 trillion.