Fletcher in the News

Are the Days of Cash Numbered? Postdoc Benjamin Mazzotta Weighs In

Benjamin Mazzotta, Postdoctoral Fellow at The Fletcher School, Tufts University

Are the Days of Cash Numbered? These Companies Hope So

A 2013 study by [The Fletcher School,] Tufts University notes that the cost to society of using cash -- coins and dollar bills -- is over $200 billion per year in terms of fees, theft, and lost productivity. Each year we spend $8 billion in ATM fees and $500 million is lost each year to theft due to carrying cash. It is also unhealthy: 94% of US dollar bills carry pathogens, according to the study. But the real issue is convenience. The study found that people spend 28 minutes per month in travel time to access cash, a cost of $31 billion in lost productivity, not to mention all the time when cash is unavailable at a given purchasing moment.

Noting the ability of cash to be used in criminal activity and making it easier to avoid taxes, Benjamin Mazzotta, a researcher for Tufts, said in an interview, "If a government could redesign money, they likely wouldn't create coins or paper currency."

This all points to a trend toward a cashless society.

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