This Is How Little Cash We Carry These Days

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Alternative forms of currency, most notably credit and debit cards, are thinning out our wallets and pocketbooks, and Americans seem to love it.

Eighty percent of Americans carry less than $50 in cash on a daily basis, and half of Americans carry less than $20 per day, according to a study from Bankrate.com.

The move toward a cashless society seems to agree with people of all age groups, educational attainment and income levels. Where a gap does appear is between men and women -- 86% of women carry less than $50 in cash with them on a daily basis, compared with 70% of men.

What's more, the only reason we carry cash at all is the risk of running into a situation where cash-only purchases apply (such as buying a hot dog at a high school football game or for shopping at yard sales and flea markets), and more major services providers are shunning cash purchases -- try buying a beer on an airplane these days with a $10 bill; many airlines have shifted to "plastic only" in-flight purchase options.

"If we move to a truly cashless society, it won't be much of an adjustment for most Americans," says Greg McBride, Bankrate's chief financial analyst. "The vast majority of Americans carry $50 or less on a daily basis, which seems to indicate that it's more out of necessity than a desire to pay with cash."

There has been plenty of talk in Congress about removing the penny from circulation (it reportedly costs 2.4 cents to make a single penny,) but the idea of removing paper bills entirely is a stretch.

Yet the data show cash evaporating steadily as a payment method of choice.

According to Javelin Research, 27% of all point-of-sale purchases in 2011 were cash only, and that figure is expected to slide to 23% by 2017.

"Cash is no longer king at the point of sale; the total purchase volumes for traditional card products have surpassed those for all other options," Javelin says. "Debit dominates and is used in close to a third of all in-store purchases. Credit follows with a fractionally lower share at POS than is held by debit."

More from Personal Finance

What Is Shane Smith's Net Worth?

What Is Shane Smith's Net Worth?

What Is Cristiano Ronaldo's Net Worth?

What Is Cristiano Ronaldo's Net Worth?

3 Apps Than Make Retirement Planning Fun for Millennials

3 Apps Than Make Retirement Planning Fun for Millennials

What the Fed Rate Hike Means For You

What the Fed Rate Hike Means For You

What Is Drew Brees' Net Worth?

What Is Drew Brees' Net Worth?