The amount of bills being printed by the federal government has declined steadily in recent years, and has now hit all-time lows in many cases, according to a report from the New York Times. In 2010, the number of $1 bills dropped to a low not seen in modern times, $5 bill production hit its lowest point in 30 years, and the Treasury didn’t even print $10 bills last year.
The reason for this is that cash is slowly being usurped as a primary payment method by plastic, the report said. Currently, the total value of bills currently in circulation around the country is equal to about 2.5 percent of the nation’s total economic activity. In 1970, it was roughly double that number.
However, some analysts believe that cash will continue to be used in one form or another for at least the next 200 years, regardless of how much card use expands, the report said.
“Cash works for us,” Ron Shevlin, an analyst with the Boston research firm Aite Group, told the newspaper. “The downward trend is clear, but change advocates always overestimate how quickly these things will happen.”
Debit and credit card use has become the preferred transaction method for many consumers because of the convenience it provides, though many businesses still do not accept card transactions due to the high fees associated with doing so.
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