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Economists Say Cash Is Losing Its Currency

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NEW YORK (CBS NEWS) - It’s what the wallet was invented for, to carry cash. After all, there was a time when we needed cash everywhere we went, from filling stations to pay phones. Even the tooth fairy dealt only in cash. But money isn’t just physical anymore. It’s not only the pennies in your piggy bank, or that raggedy dollar bill. Money is also digital — it’s zeros and ones stored in a computer, prompting some economists to predict the old-fashioned greenback may soon be a goner.

“There will be a time — I don’t know when, I can’t give you a date — when physical money is just going to cease to exist,” said economist Robert Reich.

Economists like Reich say the demise of cash has been happening ever since our financial fortunes could first be told by a piece of plastic with a magnetic strip. That was half a century ago — and now? “95 percent of the transactions in America, or more, have nothing to do with physical pieces of paper or coins,” Reich said.

Think about it. Parking meters, taxis, tolls, even Girl Scout cookies don’t require cash anymore, all proof (some argue) that cash’s days are numbered.

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