The pandemic significantly changed how consumers shopped and made payments. This change in shopping behavior significantly reduced, but did not eliminate, the use of cash, which suggests that there is a floor to consumer cash use. Concurrently, as consumers’ use of cash decreased during the pandemic, the number of bank branch closures accelerated, reducing the number of branches below levels in the early 2000s.
While the Federal Reserve does not promote the use of cash, it is responsible for providing ready access to FedCash Services. Understanding how the supply and use of cash are related will ensure the Federal Reserve can meet its mission as payment use evolves. This presentation will examine how we may estimate a floor to cash usage in the US, methodologies to define and measure access to cash across the country, and how this work helps us to continue to meet demand for US currency as part of our FedCash Service mission.