When Money Is No Object

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Back in Business is an occasional column that puts the present day in perspective by looking at business history and those who shaped it. Read previous installments of the column here.

Has Covid-19 killed cash? And, if so, what might die with it?

Spending with coins or bills shriveled in 2020, with lockdowns isolating millions at home and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention urging the U.S. public to minimize spread of the virus by making payments “without touching money.”

The pandemic gave the latest push to the decades-long decline of cash and rise of plastic, online and mobile payments.

The proportion of consumers who reported using cash for at least one payment monthly dropped to 74.7% last year from 82.4% in 2019, according to a survey of more than 1,900 households nationwide by the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta.

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