Are we becoming a NO CASH society?


This summer I’m commuting to the city for my job as Director of Alumni Programs at Camp Broadway. The mornings that I commute, my mom drives me to the train, and every morning it’s the same. We get there, say goodbye, and as I’m stepping out, she shouts, “Sarah, do you have cash?” “No,” I reply, “I’m gonna use my card.” Immediately, she goes frantically digging through her purse and pulls out $40, “Take this, you should ALWAYS take at least $40 with you into the city.”  She went on to explain her logic as what if there’s an emergency and all the credit card machines and ATMs are down, what if a place doesn’t take credit/debit (gasp), or what if I need to get home asap and don’t have time to stop.

I noticed this also when Will told me a similar story about his mom borrowing his debit to get cash out just in case, as he has a similar conversation with her about cash vs. debit. Instances like these have really made me wonder, are we a becoming a no cash society?

It got me thinking even further about how abstract the money on debit cards actually sounds if you think about it too much. It’s not as if you have your entire balance sitting in a box for you at the bank. So once you use this theoretical money it’s transfered into another account. Anyway, getting cash out always seems to add an extra step and could cause problems with certain purchases. For instance, last summer my mom purchased a bathing suit for our vacation to Aruba, and decided to pay cash instead of using her Macy’s charge. However Macy’s had left the censor on! She couldn’t find the receipt, called to explain herself and they gave her instructions on where to go in the store to have the tag removed. Once at Macy’s, they accused her of stealing the garment and took it back from her. If she had used her charge, the item would have appeared on her statement, which the staff could have easily looked up in their computer system.

On the other hand, I went to dinner last night at Water Moon in NYC with four great friends of mine that I hadn’t seen in ages. Usually when it comes time to pay we each throw in 5 debit/credit cards and give the waiter our instructions to pay. To my surprise, we ALL had cash, making the end of dinner so much easier to manage.

So I’m asking, do you use cash? If so how often?



11 Responses to “Are we becoming a NO CASH society?”

  1. I have this same problem- I never carry cash. When I was younger I thought the idea of keeping all of your money in the bank and on a card odd. Luckily I came out of this Great Depression mentality- and trusted the bank.

    But being in the city- maybe it is smarter to carry less cash. That way, if (hopefully never) your wallet is stolen, you bank will be able to reimburse your money. With cash, it’s gone.

    I usually take out a little bit of cash before the weekend (if I remember). That way, I don’t have to worry about asking the waitress for seperate checks at dinner.

    My mentality is the less cash I see, the less cash I will spend. I think it works :)

  2. 2 David M

    I’m trying to carry more cash actually. After racking up tons of debt being carefree and cashless, I now take out the money I want to spend during the week and try not to use the card at all. I guess you could call it budgeting. Who woulda thunk?

  3. 3 sarahhutton

    I feel that cash has really fallen by the wayside, enhanced by companies like Visa, who’s checking commercials always depict the guy using cash to be completely passe and irritating, since he slows down the entire flow and motion of the other customers. Also, I feel bad using debit for low cost items, I find myself always apologizing at Starbucks for charging my $1.85 cup of tea :)

  4. I’m a debit fanatic. I use to use cash all the time and then when I sat down and calculated how much I was spending on “foreign atm fees” (don’t get me started on this lol) I realized it would be so much easier to pay with debit and take out the exact amount I need. I’ve been doing this for a few years and I must say that it has helped me save significantly. When I had an extra few dollars in my pocket I would always buy something I really didn’t need: water, snack, dvd, scratch tickets, etc.

    I do however have an emergency $100 bill that I have tucked in my wallet which has been there for over a year. This goes back to what your mom was saying about not knowing if atm machines go down or there is some other type of emergency – like if your car brokedown. Usually tow truck drivers won’t take cards. I think its always good to have a few dollars tucked away on you, but make debit cards primary means of payment. (Just a note – your also earning interest, however much it may be, on the money that sits in your account..your not making that extra $ if you carry cash)

  5. 5 Randelle

    If you want to chart your survey results, you should also ask the age and sex of your respondents. I noticed your initial examples referred to “Moms.” And moms of young adults, which indicates a certain age range. Do “Dads” in that age range fret about CASH?

    And your survey respondents are already limited to “Those who surf the Internet and read blogs,” thus the more techy-minded types. Personally, I’m 55, I live in the country, I hate cities, and I don’t even trust bank accounts, let alone plastic money! (The whole electronic world COULD blow up someday, you know.) Country does not mean simple or stupid — I have a PhD and work on the Internet. But only so I can live in the country. My preference is to barter in tangible goods — trading lessons in blogging to the farrier to have my horse’s feet trimmed.

  6. With the growing influx of credit/debit card usage, most merchants are finding it difficult not to accept card payments. When selecting a merchant service provider, it is crucially important for the merchant to understand Interchange. Did you know that depending on what type of industry you are in, what type of card you use (Visa, MasterCard, Discover, American Express, debit) and how you process it (swiping a card, keying the card in) – they all have different rates? I work for a merchant service provider called Vantage Card Services. We provide our rates directly from Interchange which most providers do not. Instead, they provide you with the three tier pricing structure which is made up of qualified, mid, and non-qualified rates (mid & non-qualified rates are generally marked up sky high). Remember that it is always better to get your rates directly from Interchange. Interchange is the rate set by Visa & MasterCard. Everyone has to at least pay this rate no matter what. For more information on Interchange and other useful information, you can visit our website . To view the proper rates for the restaurant industry and to customize your own rate quote visit our website: Also, feel free to contact me for assistance in your search for a merchant provider or for any questions you might have about accepting credit card payments. My name is Christina & I can be reached at 800-397-2380. Hopefully you found this information useful should you decide to start accepting credit/debit card payments for your business.

  7. 7 Jennifer

    Its interesting because people in other countries rely more on cash than we do in the States. While traveling abroad I always need to remind myself to carry cash because other countries aren’t as credit/atm card friendly as we are. More often than not they don’t take them. I also find that outside of large cities in the States establishments tend to take cash only. I also try to be mindful of the rates that merchants are charged for accepting cards (ie, I try not to pay for my $5 coffee with a card).
    That said, it is smart to carry some cash on you (at least a $20 bill or whatever a cab home costs). You never know when we’ll have another blackout…

  8. I pay in cash for just about everything. I embraced the debit card in the early 80’s, but I have changed my awareness about money and don’t no longer have a debit card. By using cash, I don’t have to pay any ATM fees, and I don’t have the risk of my PIN number and magnetic swipe on the debit card being copied — this happens more than we know because banks usually do not report this. By using cash, I don’t have the inconvenience of having to repay to a credit card company, and I don’t have the many risks that come with carrying a credit card. And no matter where I go, just about everyone accepts cash. I know someone who won’t use money at all.

    I would have avoided the problem in Macy’s because I keep my paper receipts — proof of payment, and a means to return a purchased item.

    By paying in cash, I am more conscious of money going out.

  9. Your mothers advise is very wise. I will keep her words to heart. One of my friends also got their materials taken away in just the same manner that your mother got her bathing suit taken away from her from the department store. It was a Halloween suit, in their case. To answer your question, “I use cash 4% percent of the time”. Answering your bottom question, “yes, I think Facebook is worth $4 Billion dollars.”

  10. 10 johannes

    i want to join this company whow can ido to join to this company my contactnumber as 0711425947

  1. 1 Is Facebook Worth $4 Billion?

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