Fletcher in the News

Newly Wary, Shoppers Trust Cash: Cost of Cash Study Highlighted in NYT

Cost of Cash, The Fletcher School, IGBC

Like dieters vowing to trade cupcakes for carrots, a number of American shoppers are making a new pledge: cash only.

The drumbeat of disclosures about credit and debit card breaches at major retailers (and hints of more to come) has unnerved consumers to the point where chatter online and at the water cooler is filled with people promising to curb their plastic habits…

… Financial advisers and consumer advocates say there are drawbacks to an all-cash existence beyond the nuisance and expense of running to the A.T.M. (A study this year by [The Fletcher School,] Tufts University, called “The Cost of Cash in the United States,” found that the average American spends 28 minutes each month, or 5.6 hours a year, traveling to banks or A.T.M.’s to get cash. It found that the average fee to use a non-network A.T.M. is now about $3.85 per transaction.)

For one thing, cash is not an option with online purchases. And vowing to use cash is a knee-jerk response that doesn’t necessarily make sense, some say.

Read the full piece