Why We’re Using Less Cash

Americans are using less cash during the coronavirus pandemic, and it’s not only because of wanting to avoid paper bills and coins because of them potentially being sources of transmission of the virus.

Other reasons for the shift toward digital payments include convenience and the fact that more shopping was pushed online due to retail store closures during lockdown and people’s caution about being in public places. It’s something that’s also been seen around the world, and like other things during the pandemic — such as working from home — experts say it’s speeding up trends that were already happening.

Harvard University economic Kenneth Rogoff told the Wall Street Journal, “A central theme of Covid-19 is things that would have taken five years are taking five months, and it’s a reinforcing of existing trends. It’s the same with cash.” Americans’ use of cash had been gradually declining for years, used in 26 percent of all payments in 2019, down from 40 percent in 2012. What remains to be seen is how much spending will snap back to cash as the pandemic eases and eventually ends. (Wall Street Journal)