If you think credit and debit cards are about to displace cash for retail transactions, think again. Legal tender accounts for as much as 40 percent of transactions overall and up to two-thirds of purchases under $10. So while plastic and electronic payments often have been pegged as the currency of the future, the oft-predicted cashless society is nowhere in sight.
Cash still rules, especially at convenience stores and small retail shops that process many small transactions. Fifty-five percent of U.S. small businesses don’t even accept credit cards, according to a 2012 Intuit study. But cash poses challenges for businesses because bills and coins have to be secured, counted, and transported to a bank. Sometimes cash leads to mistakes and mischief. Handlers can miscount bills, give customers the wrong change, or fall into the temptation of pocketing money meant for a POS cash drawer. Collectively, thieving employees cost the retail industry 7 percent of its revenue, or $50 billion, consulting firm Jack L. Hayes International Inc. reported in June 2014.
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