Online shopping, along with debit, credit, and gift card payments at the bricks-and-mortar level are now established and ubiquitous elements of both consumer culture and the U.S. economy. So much so that the notion that sooner, rather than later, paper currency will become obsolete is almost a presupposition. The reality is a bit more nuanced, however.
Clearly, usage of paper checks are on the decline in retail. For other types of paper-based payments, namely cash, over the past few decades, according to the Fed, the total value of circulating currency in the U.S. has grown dramatically—from $93.4 billion in 1977 to $783.2 billion in 2006. Additionally, the amount of currency (measured by individual pieces) in circulation also has increased from 7.5 billion to 26.4 billion.
John Rhoads lists the most important features retailers should look for when researching and selecting a cash-handling solution: