The Cost of Cash in the United States

Part one of an international series on the cost of cash around the world: including Egypt, India, and Mexico.

After more than 2,000 years as king, cash today faces competition. Private vendors have introduced a host of substitutes they claim are better than paper currency, and new technologies – from mobile payments to electronic payment services – threaten to make cash obsolete. Still, cash continues to play a major role in the United States economy.

Over the course of a year, the Institute for Business in the Global Context at The Fletcher School, Tufts University, studied the cost and benefits of cash in the United States. Looking at patterns of use on a total cost-of-ownership basis, the study yields new insights on its use, the reasons to consider cash versus alternative payment systems, and the impact of cash use on different participants, consumers, merchants and society.

Download the full Report (PDF)