Saturday, January 5, 2019

Do You Want A Cashless Society?

If you went to pay your bill at a restaurant or wanted to buy something at a grocery store would you be put out of sorts if the business didn't accept cash? I think I would be. I don't always want to put items on credit cards. For me it's far too easy to spend more money than I intended to spend if I use a credit card.

There is also the case that I may not always want the bank issuing the credit card to know where I was or what I was purchasing. However more businesses are starting to refuse cash. Not everyone is happy about this.

Sam Schreiber was mid-shampoo at a Drybar blow-dry salon in Los Angeles when someone from the front desk approached her stylist with an emergency: a woman was trying to pay for her blow-out with cash. “There was this beat of silence,” says Ms. Schreiber, 33 years old. “She literally brought $40.” 

More and more businesses like Drybar don’t want your money—the paper kind at least. It’s making things awkward for those who come ill prepared. After all, you can’t give back a hairdo, an already dressed salad or the two beers you already drank. Ms. Schreiber was tempted to wait and see how the Drybar employees would handle the situation with the customer, who had no credit or debit card with her; instead, she intervened from the shampoo bowl. “I said, ‘I can just pay for her and she can give me cash or Venmo me,’ ” she says.

A few moments later, one of the employees came back to hand her the $40 and expressed thanks on behalf of the stranger. 

Despite the popularity of debit- and credit-card transactions, plenty of people do still pay for things with actual money. 
Cash represented 30% of all transactions and 55% of those under $10, according to a Federal Reserve survey of 2,800 people conducted in October 2017.

Although U.S. bills feature the words, “This note is legal tender for all debts, public and private,” there’s no federal law that says businesses have to accept cash, according to the Federal Reserve’s website. Massachusetts is the only state that currently requires retailers to accept cash. 
Some New Jersey legislators are working to make their state next. New York City Councilman Ritchie Torres of the Bronx recently proposed legislation that would prohibit retailers and restaurants from refusing cash, and city council members in Washington, D.C., and Philadelphia have proposed similar legislation.

“I refuse to patronize businesses that reject cash payments, even though I primarily use debit or credit,” says Councilman Torres. He says not accepting cash is discriminatory against the undocumented, people without bank accounts and credit cards, and those who wish to have their transactions be more private. “It’s a humiliating situation.

It is old fashioned to write checks and/or pay everything in cash instead of using credit cards but for my personal financial stability I've learned the hard way that avoiding credit card usage for everyday items is a good thing. Using cash and/or checks makes it immediately obvious what something costs. Using cash brings home the opportunity cost of making that purchase in a way that credit cards don't. I shouldn't be forced to avoid cash. Not everyone has or wants credit cards. As has been pointed out, "cash transactions are outside the net that such institutions[ banks and technology firms] cast to harvest fees and data."

What's your call?

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