Monday, February 25, 2019

Cash is a Stranger to Me

I was recently in the city to have lunch with some friends, and I think it may have been the first time I ever went to a credit-card-only restaurant. There was some confusion as we tried to figure out how to split the bill with one person wanting to chip in cash and two people being willing to use cards, but then not having enough small change to appropriately share the cash. I suppose we could have asked the server to just put different amounts on each card but that seemed even more complicated!
Later that afternoon, I stopped in a cafe to grab an iced coffee. (It was one of those weird hot days and I was getting rather parched walking back to the train station.) Again, no cash was accepted. (I was also a bit shocked that a small iced coffee cost $4.75. I think I am already becoming unaccustomed to the ways of NYC. But it was very good coffee.)

Whether or not I'm going to places that don't accept cash, I find that I almost never spend it anymore. Every couple of months, I get my hair cut, and pay for that in cash. Once in a while, Sweetie and I will go to the local pizza place for lunch and we'll pay cash for a couple of slices. And occasionally there will be some other little thing. It used to be that I might buy a copy of a newspaper. But I get home delivery of the New York Times 4 days a week, and now I read the Wall Street Journal at the library. Even parking meters always seem to take credit cards now.

The Times just published an article about the backlash against this phenomenon: This Legislation Could Force Stores to Take Your Cash. I can see both sides of the issue. People argue that going cashless shuts out poorer people, who are unlikely to have access to credit and bank accounts. But businesses like the safety and administrative ease, and governments like having a data trail to prevent tax evasion and corruption.

I hope paper money doesn't disappear completely-- like postage stamps, paper bills are almost works of art, and I've always like collecting unusual ones from my travels. But I can't say I'll be using it very actively myself.


Vards Uzvards said...

On the West coast there are proposals to ban cashless establishments ... as long as it's not Amazon Go.

T'Pol said...

I do not like to charge small amounts. One of my banks came up with a combo card. It is both a debit and a credit card. You can choose as you are paying. I still like to carry cash though.

mOOm said...

I recently started trying to spend cash less to better track what we are spending money on. A lot of restaurants here in Australia won't take cards for purchases under $30 say to save on the transaction fees they claim. Other businesses charge extra fees for using credit cards compared to debit or electronic transfer etc. Last year, when I was in Sweden for 2 weeks I never used in cash and in Japan I never used a card. It was an experiment to see if it was possible :) Those seem to be the two extreme cases of cashless and cash oriented economies.

Financial Independence said...

I don't think that safety is a concern any longer for the business, as not much cash is going it. It hits poorer people. Although when paid b card the business loses some small percentage, in general, they like it, as people easier spend their money, as they could not see it.
I think legislation is good way to enforce it.