However, the “cashless society” is an idea that people have been batting around since before the ATM even and, as yet, it hasn’t happened; a number of industry analysts and academics don’t think it will (no matter how much safer it may make America, according to a March 2014 article in The Atlantic correlating decreased cash use with decreased crime). Stearns, who studies the sociological implications of payment in society, noted that cash-based interactions still have power in America, such as dropping a coin in homeless person’s cup, adding your tithe to the collection plate at church, or tipping the valet who parks your car.
— “The ATM is Dead. Long Live the ATM” – Smithsonian Magazine
Fascinating, but until I can walk into any bodega, bar, coffee shop, or dollar slice joint in New York City and pay for my stuff with a card (or Apple Pay) the ATM will be a part of my life. The number of places in this city that still deal with cash as the primary, or even only way of making a transaction is staggering. They’ll also be among the last to switch to any sort of digital payments, because there’s no transaction cost to doing business in cash. In that low-margin world, those fees add up.