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Cash or credit, the debate goes on

How long will cash stick around?

This has become a perennial question in numismatics. It might even take on political overtones if the $20 bill is abolished before Secretary of the Treasury Jack Lew can make good on his promise of Harriet Tubman displacing Andrew Jackson.

Introduction date of the Tubman $20 could be as late as the year 2030 or 2035.

Ever since I have had to take my elderly mother grocery shopping, I have had more opportunity to observe people’s monetary behavior.

She still pays in cash. She doesn’t eat much, so the sums are fairly low.

However, as we go through the checkout line on a regular basis I see how many people use debit or credit cards.

On the other side of the coin, I ducked into a Dairy Queen on Sunday on my way home to Iola.

The line was short. Ahead of me was a mother and her about to be 8-year-old daughter. They were buying a birthday cake. The cost was just over $30.

While the employees were going to get the frozen treat, the mother put a $100 bill on the counter.

The mother and daughter talked about the denomination and the daughter commented that she had $1 bills.

Obviously, the use of cash continues and its significance is being transmitted to the next generation.

But when my turn came, the bill was much lower. What did I use? A credit card.

American payment habits are changing.

The only question really is how fast is the change occurring?

I have long maintained that cash will be in use for my lifetime. That might still be the case, but I am seeing evidence the change is happening faster than I expected despite my latest experience at the Dairy Queen.

Buzz blogger Dave Harper has twice won the Numismatic Literary Guild Award for Best Blog and is editor of the weekly newspaper "Numismatic News."

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