The Case Against Cash

by Sarah Grotta 0

An opinion piece in the Boston Globe makes the case for phasing out cash in the U.S. At least large denomination bills:

The world is awash in paper currency, with major-country central banks pumping out hundreds of billions of dollars’ worth each year, mainly in large denomination notes such as the $100 bill. The $100 bill accounts for almost 80 percent of the United States’ stunning $4,200 per capita cash supply. The 10,000 yen note (about $100) accounts for roughly 90 percent of all Japan’s currency, where per capita cash holdings are almost $7,000

Much has been written about criminals beginning to shun cash in favor of payment types like prepaid and Bitcoin as they are easier to transport than cash. But apparently thieves’ payment preferences are also difficult to change, especially if large denominated bills are available:

Cash facilitates crime because it is anonymous, and big bills are especially problematic because they are so easy to carry and conceal. A million dollars in $100 notes fits into a briefcase, a million dollars in 500 euro banknotes (each worth about $565) fits into a purse.

Sure, there are plenty of ways to bribe officials, engage in financial crime, and evade taxes without paper currency. But most involve very high transaction costs (for example, uncut diamonds), or risk of detection (say, bank transfers or credit card payments).

Overview by Sarah Grotta, Director, Debit Advisory Service at Mercator Advisory Group

Read the full story here

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