Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)



Committee Chair

Eric Dietz

Committee Member 1

Nicole Hands

Committee Member 2

Alok Chaturvedi


The payment market has many electronic instruments like cards and mobile phones competing with cash for market share. This thesis compares costs, involving two components: (i) the cost of implementing and maintaining an economy where the instrument can be used and, (ii) the losses suffered due to abuse of the payment instrument, for cash and card instruments. A case study on three countries Sweden, United States and India is conducted to survey variations in costs for cash and card instruments in economies that have varying extents of cash in circulation. Findings show that losses suffered due to abuse of cash as a payment instrument are much higher than that of card instruments. The cost of implementing and maintaining a system for electronic payment instruments are less than half of the cost of currency operations. A society with less cash could hence potentially be more resistant to abuse of payment instrument and more cost effcient as compared to a cash based one. However, electronic payment methods do not provide the fnancial privacy and fnancial independence that cash provides. Thus individual rights and liberty are better safeguarded in a cash based economy.