Americans spend less cash, but keep more of it around.
Can you break a hundred? How the use of cash has changed in America. Since the 1990s, the American economy has grown healthily. But the use of cash for everyday spending stayed roughly the same. Cash as a store of value or for expensive transactions grew mostly in line with GDP. The bump was extra cash in case of Year 2000 hiccups -- but it left the system when banks functioned normally. Over the past decade and a half, the American economy continued to grow, despite a dip because of the economic crisis. The use of high-denomination notes also increased -- and particularly outpaced GDP after the financial crisis beginning in 2007. But smaller notes for basic purchases barely grew at all. So where the US economy is up by 65 percent -- small transactions increased only 20%. And $100 notes increased almost threefold -- because they’re used for criminal activities, to avoid tax, and as an alternative to banks amid low-interest rates. Some economists argue that replacing physical currencies with digital ones will reduce crime, increase tax revenue and improve monetary policy. But what’s clear is that Americans spend relatively less cash, but keep more of it around.
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