ATMs are a reliable source of cash for many Americans. They're convenient and effective, negating the need for a teller to get the money they want whenever customers and members need it. In many ways, being able to perform bank functions at any time can be a liberating experience for those who have trouble performing banking functions at a bank. However, ATMs can also serve as the basis of a fundamental freedom: being able to pay with cash.
The ATM Industry Association recently released a position paper on the state of cash as a payment method. In recent years, there has been a surge of credit and debit card usage as well as online and mobile payments that have led to the idea of a cashless society. However, the ATMIA believes that not only does cash have a future in modern society, but it should continue to exist as the basis of economic liberty. In the paper, it points out that currency has been used as a form of payment transaction since at least the 7th century B.C. It has been a long-lived and popular method of payment, noting that more than 80 percent of all retail transactions around the world are cash-based.
More importantly, cash use is on the rise based on withdrawal volumes at ATMs and how much currency is in circulation. The ATMIA cited Retail Banking Research's analysis that annual cash withdrawal will grow 7.9 percent annually between 2013 and 2019, exceeding the economic growth rate of 3.5 to 3.7 percent predicted by the International Monetary Fund for the same period.
Cash is popular because it's simple to use and universally accepted. The ATMIA believes that the choice of using cash, whether for use in retail or government dealings, should be a right of all citizens in free economies and should not be taken away from them. ATMs help establish that freedom by allowing withdrawals to happen at any time. It creates the situation where cash is accessible to all, especially those with a bank account and those who use prepaid cards with the ability to take out money. The ease of possessing paper currency and knowing that it's in their hands makes people feel secure.
August 19, 2015