The role of cash and the structure of its demand have been constantly changing over the past two decades. In addition to traditional factors such as the interest rates, income, price level, wealth, the institutional environ-ment also has a significant and lasting effect on this change. As a result of the change in the institutional envi-ronment, a relative decrease in the transactional demand for cash and, in parallel, an increasingly decisive precautionary demand for cash can be observed in the Eurozone and in Hungary as well. According to that the drivers of cash demand has changed during the last two decade; the transactional factor became even less important and parallel with that the uncertainty play even more important role. In our paper the cash demand generated by social, economic, political or any other uncertainty is called precautionary demand. The sudden increase in uncertainty causes structural breaks in the development of precautionary demand for cash. The presentation shows the two decades of precautionary demand in the Eurozone and Hungary through the de-velopment of the euro and forint cash holding ratio and the factors that significantly affect it. The trend of cash holding ratios is increasing and characterized by structural breaks, the most significant breakpoints were formed during the 2008 global economic crisis and the 2020 closures due to COVID-19. The closures necessi-tated by new waves of the pandemic, the geopolitical uncertainty caused by the Russian-Ukrainian war, and the emerging economic crisis exposed the cash holding ratio to more and more shocks. Because of this, the precautionary demand for cash lost its previous trend, and its development became difficult to forecast. De-mand shocks arising because of the above processes can probably be expected in the future as well, which may necessitate the development of different stockpiling and regulation practices by central banks.