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Thoughts about the Recent Poll regarding how often you use coins.

BryceMBryceM Posts: 11,589 ✭✭✭✭✭
edited May 1, 2023 6:39PM in U.S. Coin Forum

I recently started a poll asking how often each person uses coins for transactions. I often see threads here about people checking their pocket change, and to be honest, I never even look. Perhaps that means that I'm not a "real" collector, but I sorta, kinda doubted many of you did either. For reference, here's the poll:


From the poll, on 5% use coins "a few times a day" and 72% use coins less than weekly. 36% can't remember the last time they paid for something using coins.

So....... a few thoughts:

  • the vast majority of us don't check our change, simply because we don't use change.
  • as an instrument of commerce, coins are becoming insignificant.
  • either something changes like re-valuation (no pun intended), or within a few years, we won't really use coins at all, at least not for commerce.
  • if coin collectors don't use change, who does?


  • coinbufcoinbuf Posts: 10,384 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited May 1, 2023 7:53PM

    @BryceM said:

    • if coin collectors don't use change, who does?

    As I said in the poll thread this is somewhat meaningless as most collectors do not live hand to mouth and so the poll result should come as no surprise. I mean no offense by this, but as you are a doctor your opportunity to interact with people that use cash (the type that folds and that which jingles) is likely very limited. Head down to the southern border for a few days and you will see a significant number of people that use cash. There is a Hispanic run market just a few miles from my house which I frequent, I am the token white guy in that place most of the time as the vast majority of the cliental are Hispanic. I have dubbed the area where this market is as little Mexico as the area is 90% Hispanic residents, some legal many not. And while some do use electronic payments, a very high percentage of the payments are in cash.

    Drawing conclusions from such a tiny fraction of the population, limited to mostly wealthy coin collectors, is hardly scientific or a valid way to draw any conclusions on how cash is used in commerce today.

    My Lincoln Registry
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  • DisneyFanDisneyFan Posts: 1,385 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @coinbuf said:

    I mean no offense by this, but as you are a doctor your opportunity to interact with people that use cash (the type that folds and that which jingles) is likely very limited.

    I recently had a serious medical situation and my wife was thanking my doctor for going out of his way for me. He quipped, "I don't take credit, only cash." For fun, on our next visit I gave him a crisp new $2 bill. He was totally surprised, tried giving it back to me and kept asking if it was real.

  • TrampTramp Posts: 613 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Did my very first half dollar roll search today, 25 rolls. I took your poll and it made me think about my coin usage.

    So, rather than turning in all the half dollars, I'm going to spend some doing my shopping e.g. groceries, dining out and even tipping. I'm going to introduce or re-introduce many people to the Kennedy half dollar. Most kids today will probably look at it and wonder if it's fake.

    USAF (Ret.) 1985 - 2005. E-4B Aircraft Maintenance Crew Chief and Contracting Officer.
    My current Registry sets:
    ✓ Everyman Mint State Carson City Morgan Dollars (1878 – 1893)
    ✓ Everyman Mint State Lincoln Cents (1909 – 1958)
    ✓ Morgan Dollar GSA Hoard (1879 – 1891)

  • alaura22alaura22 Posts: 2,059 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Like it or not, it's a credit card world. I haven't used cash for anything except mickey dee's and I stoped going their cause I got sick!

  • gumby1234gumby1234 Posts: 5,150 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Using coins for purchasing is different than receiving coins in change everyday and checking them before throwing into a change jar. I use coins in purchases maybe a few times a month. I receive coins in change multiple times daily.

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  • TwobitcollectorTwobitcollector Posts: 2,948 ✭✭✭✭✭

    To quote, and few of you will remember ABSCAN "Money talks BS walks".
    Me I like using cash, less big brother interaction.

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  • DisneyFanDisneyFan Posts: 1,385 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @BryceM said:

    I live in a rural area and plenty of folks around here are cash-only. Somewhere around 30% of the kids in the high school speak Spanish at home and the majority of their parents are farm workers. Average incomes are well below national averages.
    You are a good person!

  • jmlanzafjmlanzaf Posts: 30,279 ✭✭✭✭✭


    I'm not sure why people tend to insist that cash usage is higher than it is. See the above link. It continues to decline nearly every year and less than 20% of payments are made in cash - and that includes poor as well as rich. [Poor do use cash more than rich.]

    The move to a cashless society will not wait for cash usage to go all the way to zero on its own. The transition will come when usage AND resistance are low and they figure out how to transition the cash-addicted. Personally, I think it is ludicrous to think that it will never happen or even that it will take a very long time to get there.

  • VTchaserVTchaser Posts: 261 ✭✭✭

    My LCS used to give a discount when paying in cash. So that was my only supply of coins in change.

    I used to use that change for air compressors or vacuums at the car wash. Now all of those take cards. I never carry a single dollar in cash so not sure when i would ever use it.

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  • seatedlib3991seatedlib3991 Posts: 307 ✭✭✭

    Somewhere on the internet there is a 2020 government census report I saw recently. It claimed that between 24% to 27% of transactions in the United states in are cash.

  • Klif50Klif50 Posts: 627 ✭✭✭✭

    I often get change back since I use cash a lot. I never pay for anything with change. When I get in each evening I look through the change I've accumulated during the day before I toss it in the change jar. I have quite a few gallon jars full of change and when I'm bored I'll take one out and roll everthing and take it to the bank and exchange it for one dollar bills or half dollars if they have them. Very seldom will I pull anything out for the collection other than the odd silver dime (I get a few dimes every 3 or 4 months but never silver quarters.

  • WCCWCC Posts: 2,183 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @RYK said:

    I worry a little bit about the future of coin collection in a world in which a substantial percentage of the population does not use coins for transactions.

    In more recent years (arbitrarily the 21st century) I infer that some noticeable proportion start from NCLT, presumably mostly bullion. But the anecdotal evidence I see indicates that this collector profile doesn't usually collect as wide a variety as the "traditional" collector.

    If this is correct, it's likely to eventually result in a smaller collector base and one which collects the currently most widely collected series a lot less too, except for those with substantial financially related buying.

  • TimNHTimNH Posts: 74 ✭✭✭

    All those auto-checkout cashier machines around me take coins, i just let my coin bowl fill up then bring it into Walmart or something and empty it out. It doesn't even take a fee like Coinstar.

  • jmlanzafjmlanzaf Posts: 30,279 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @seatedlib3991 said:
    Somewhere on the internet there is a 2020 government census report I saw recently. It claimed that between 24% to 27% of transactions in the United states in are cash.

    It's under 20% now. See any of the links I posted.

  • seatedlib3991seatedlib3991 Posts: 307 ✭✭✭

    Tim NH. don't they have small storage capacity? how much change are you talking about?

  • oldabeintxoldabeintx Posts: 1,463 ✭✭✭✭✭

    I stopped checking my change around 1965. I think we can all see the trend as far as cash use. At some point in the future, the use of cash will almost be the exclusive purview of people who are very reluctant to provide a discoverable transaction record for various reasons and those who are outside of the banking system.

  • fathomfathom Posts: 1,434 ✭✭✭✭✭

    It will take a very long time to get to cashless. Yes tipping and such is cash.

    But many people do not and will not have bank account access for a myriad of reasons. Low credit, not enough minimum balance, distrust of banks to mention a few. An industry that utilizes cash as a large percent of transactions is amusements/vending. Though many more machines increasingly take card/nfc much of the use is still plain old cash.

    We are are not close to cashless, and pressures to force transition will meet social and political pushback for the foreseeable future.

  • TimNHTimNH Posts: 74 ✭✭✭

    @seatedlib3991 said:
    Tim NH. don't they have small storage capacity? how much change are you talking about?

    I've never had the thing fill up on me, I'll pile in something like a small cereal bowl-ful, clink clink clink, coins all gone, and no fee taken!

  • seatedlib3991seatedlib3991 Posts: 307 ✭✭✭

    Thanks for the answer. James

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