Billions of customers around the world have access to credit and debit cards. Despite plastic being widespread, the world at large maintains their love of dollars and cents.

Figuring out the globe’s commitment to cash means following the data back to its source: the customer. What motivates them to utilize cash? Is cash more likely to be used with certain merchants and products? The research says yes. Furthermore, the research says cash is on the rise. This reality demands that merchants of all types pay close attention to the needs of their customers, as well as to the issues a cash-based economy raises.

A recent RBR report indicates cashless payments rising at a rate of 7.6% since 2010; cash withdrawals are keeping pace at 7.1%. Another report from RBR reveals that ATMs are continuing to massively expand in both usage and presence, with 92 billion withdrawals from over 3 million machines. Why do these numbers matter?

This growth is especially notable due to the “War on Cash” being waged today by governments around the world. In order to combat criminals, governments from Norway to South Korea are pushing to eliminate certain bill denominations, according to a recent piece at BusinessInsider.com. In the face of such pressures, the persistent growth of cash speaks to a customer base that values hard currency. So what pushes people to prefer cash?

Everyone has encountered the malfunctioned card machine or sudden cash-only establishment. Having a few bills in your pocket ensures there’s no risk of getting turned away. Furthermore, credit card breaches affecting a long list of companies have exposed valuable customer data as a result. CUNA predicts that by 2020, the annual cost of such breaches will carry a $2.1 trillion price tag. Customers have noticed, and carrying cash can offer a level of trust between them and their merchant.

There’s an element of cash that many don’t appreciate: the human element. Cash is an easy alternative to plastic that’s convenient for small dollar purchases. Digging through the pile of receipt trays at a restaurant for your individual card is a headache; a tidy pile of cash left by the salt and pepper shakers is convenient. Even more important is cash’s role in emergencies such as hurricanes and earthquakes. FEMA now recommends cash be placed in all emergency kits.

Cash remains the most popular option for 6 of 9 transaction types, according to a Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco report. Cardtronics reports even tech-savvy millennials are big fans of cash, with over 45% suggesting their cash usage is increasing from a few years ago.

Across all payment methods, cash is the simplest to handle. Once it’s in the hands of the retailer, however, things become more challenging. That’s where Tidel can help. Tidel’s smart safes offer a completely integrated system of managing and securing a store’s cash deposits. Counting a large number of small bills becomes automated and completely traceable, minimizing the risk of human error.

With core features such as dual bill validators, an easy to use system console, and connectivity to a store’s network, businesses can rely on Tidel to provide the security, auditability, and automation required for a business operating in today’s cash-centric society. To learn more about how Tidel offers proven solutions for a cash-trending world, please visit tidel.com/markets/.

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