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ATMs prove useful in economy still dependent on cash

With the proliferation of virtual systems like Apple Pay, PayPal and Venmo, it may seem like the need for physical money has diminished. While the role of cash has certainly changed, it has not disappeared, and it will likely continue to be a major source of payments, making ATMs a valuable resource for consumers.

The case of Apple Pay

One reason cash will survive is because mobile payment systems are struggling to be used consistently. According to a PYMNTS poll, about a quarter of respondents had at least tried Apple Pay. That is up almost 11 percent from last year. These numbers, at the surface, cast a shadow over cash usage, but there are other figures that indicate Apple Pay is struggling to gain traction with first-time users. In fact, since October 2015, poll respondents who use Apple Pay every chance they get has decreased about 14 percent, and the percentage of consumers who rarely consider using Apple Pay has increased by 12 percent.

Cash-only businesses have also preserved the usage of physical money. Using a credit card often costs a business about 4 percent of the transaction, so it's no surprise that about 55 percent of small businesses don't accept them, USA Today reported, citing an Intuit survey. Mobile payment systems operate like credit cards, so they will likely face similar challenges from small businesses that are focused on saving money wherever they can.

According to USA today, researchers have been talking about the possibility of a near cashless future since 1954. That clearly has not happened yet. Even if Apple Pay does catch on in the future, a large percentage of millennials still have a preference for using cash. While an ATM is a significant investment for a business, accessibility to cash remains an important aspect for transactions nationwide.