-- this article authored by Scott Fulford, Claire Greene, and William Murdock III
Small denominations play a special role in a payments ecosystem because they facilitate exchange for small-value goods and services. This report examines the $1 bill holdings of adults in the United States using data from the Diary of Consumer Payments Choice (DCPC). Simply knowing the number of $1 bills in circulation is not useful for understanding consumers' actions, since many of these bills are held by merchants.
The costs and benefits to the consumer of carrying $1 bills have been largely ignored in the policy discussion of the costs of switching from dollar notes to dollar coins. Knowing the facts about U.S. adult consumers' holdings of $1 bills represents a first step toward gaining an understanding of these costs and benefits to consumers.
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