If you think credit and debit cards are about to displace cash for retail transactions, think again. Legal tender remains the most commonly used form of payment, accounting for about 40 percent of U.S. transactions overall, up to two-thirds of purchases under $10, and half of transactions valued at less than $50. “Cash accounts for about 85 percent of global consumer transactions,” according to MasterCard. “In most countries the cashless journey has only just begun.” So while plastic and electronic payments have been hailed as the currency of the future, there is a long way to go.
Cash still rules, especially at convenience stores and small retail shops that process mostly small transactions. Fifty-five percent of U.S. small businesses don’t even accept credit cards, according to financial software developer Intuit. Still, cash poses challenges for businesses because bills and coins have to be secured, counted, and transported to a bank.
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