DCA News & Resources

Press Release: Financial Data Breaches in 2013 Indicate Electronic Payments Will Not Eliminate Demand For Cash

WASHINGTON, DC – In 2013, several security breaches compromised the credit card and financial information of millions of American consumers. The security breach at national retailer Target was responsible for the theft of debit and credit account information of 40 million customers alone. Security breaches such as this cause legitimate concern among both consumers and policymakers, and indicate that a move to a truly “cashless” economic system is not likely in the near future, despite claims from opponents of currency modernization. The Dollar Coin Alliance, which advocates for the U.S. to modernize from a dollar note to dollar coin, urges Congress to consider the financial benefits of the dollar coin as Americans continue to rely on hard currency in addition to other forms of currency, such as credit cards and electronic forms of payments.

Defenders of the status quo and opponents of the dollar coin argue that modernizing U.S. currency – as nearly every other industrialized nation has already done – is not necessary because of the rise in electronics payments.  However, the facts show that the demand for hard currency, including cash and coins, continues to rise even as electronic payment options continue to grow. In fact, the primary reason for the increase in electronic payments is that digital transactions have replaced personal checks, which have seen a drastic 50 percent decline in the past 20 years.

“The experience of security breaches, and the facts, tell us that we won’t be going cashless anytime soon,” said Shawn Smeallie, executive director of the Dollar Coin Alliance. “Even as technology advances and electronic payment options grow, cash provides a reliable option for consumers. The Federal government should, therefore, continue to explore options for more efficient forms of currency, including the option of eliminating the dollar bill in favor of the dollar coin to save billions for taxpayers.”

The release of a study by a former Treasury Department economist earlier this year concluded that the country could save upwards of $13 billion by modernizing currency to the dollar coin. This report comes on the heels of ten reports by the Government Accountability Office, Congress’ own watchdog, advocating on behalf of the dollar coin as way to eliminate government waste.

The dollar coin has received support in both chambers of Congress, transit agencies, and from budget watchdogs including the Domenici-Rivlin Debt Reduction Task Force. The coin has also been endorsed by editorial boards from across the country, such as The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Chicago Tribune, Los Angeles Times, Wisconsin State Journal, and USA Today, both for its budget saving benefits, as well as its reliability, sustainability and security benefits.

The Currency Optimization Innovation and National Savings (COINS) Act (S. 1105 and H.R. 3305) was introduced earlier this year by a bipartisan group of lawmakers including Sens. Tom Harkin (D-IA), John McCain (R-AZ), Tom Coburn (R-OK), Mike Enzi (R-WY), and Mark Udall (D-CO). The House bill was introduced by a similarly bipartisan group of lawmakers led by Reps. Michael Fitzpatrick (R-PA) and Robert Brady (D-PA), Brady, Robert (D-PA1), William Enyart (D-IL), Trent Franks (R-AZ), Joe Garcia (D-FL), Walter Jones (R-NC), Gregory Meeks (D-NY), Pat Tiberi (R-OH), Paul Tonko (D-NY), Ken Calvert (R-CA), Paul Gosar (R-AZ) and Louise Slaughter (D-NY).


Contact: Bryan DeAngelis