Ever since the first general-purpose charge card debuted in the early 1950s, pundits have been predicting the "cashless society". Over fifty years later, we may finally be getting close to that vision. This study is the first to examine empirically the move toward a cashless society using a cost-benefit framework. We find that when all key parties to a transaction are considered and benefits are added, cash and checks are more costly than many earlier studies suggest. In general, the shift toward a cashless society appears to be a beneficial one.
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