Despite conditions, cash to remain popular payment method

Amid rising debt level, widespread mistrust of the finance sector and the introduction of new fees on checking and debit card use, federal officials expect cash payments to remain popular in coming years.

Amid rising debt level, widespread mistrust of the finance sector and the introduction of new fees on checking and debit card use, federal officials expect cash payments to remain popular in coming years.

According to a report released by the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, electronic payment methods have not replaced a substantial interest in cash alternatives. But despite widespread economic uncertainty, officials maintain that cash trends tend to be independent of market swings.

"We find that economic conditions have very little effect on cash volume," reported Fed economists Jeremy Gerst and Daniel Wilson.

"Alternative payment technologies have tended to keep cash growth in check, but other factors have more than offset this," the officials wrote, adding that cash volume is expected to grow 1.7 percent over the next 10 years.

Consumers tend to turn to cash for its anonymity, but recent displeasure with the banking sector may further drive its use. A recent study by Research Intelligence Group found roughly 30 percent of consumers will consider leaving their banks over new debit card fees, and 43 percent of respondents claimed they will switch to cash or credit cards.