The ATM data point to a larger trend that economists have been talking up for years: the move toward a cashless economy. For the first time, the number of electronic payments has surpassed cash and checks, according to a study released last year by the American Bankers Association.
"It's just easier than carrying cash around," said Stephanie Wash, a Braintree student. Wash said she uses her debit card "more and more," including to get cash back, lessening the need to visit the ATM. She still uses cash for smaller purchases, including Burger King chicken tenders and fries.