In what may have significant implications for ATM deployment and other aspects of credit union operations, a study from Javelin Strategy and Research has found that debit and credit cards have overtaken cash as accounting for the bulk of sales volume at the retail point of sale.

The study relied upon survey results from a representative sample of 3,210 consumers, the U.S. Census and data drawn from the major card brands and U.S. government agencies.

The study found that purchases with cash, while numerous, were of generally lower transaction value. Higher value transactions at the retail POS tended to go to debit and credit cards, with debit cards accounting for 31% of retail sales volume, credit cards 29% and cash only 27%. Further, the study forecast that cash would only represent 23% of sales volume at retail POS by 2017.

“Cash may be the most commonly used payment option for POS retail transactions, but frequent usage does not necessarily translate to a higher sales volume,” the research firm wrote in its 2012-2017 Retail Point of Sale Forecast.