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Cash is Still King, Especially While Traveling

Credit and debit cards have their own problems.

by
Helen Smith

Bio

October 14, 2012 - 7:57 am

I have seen articles discussing “the end of cash” and there is even a book out called The End of Money: Counterfeiters, Preachers, Techies, Dreamers–and the Coming Cashless Society. The author of this book, Wolman “flies to Delhi, where he sees first-hand how cash penalizes the poor more than anyone—and how mobile technologies promise to change that.”

Really? The poor (and not so poor) often use an underground economy with cash that keeps them from having to report income so I’m not sure how mobile technology will be a benefit there. There are many who work under the table for cash, collect food stamps and disability etc. This way, if they go over the limit allowed for income, they keep the cash and their benefits. With mobile technology only, it might be easier to spot this illegal activity. However, while this may be good for society, it doesn’t sound “good” for the poor, if “good” means they have more access to money in general. Once they lose their benefits, they have less. On second thought, maybe this is a benefit of going to a cashless society.

Anyway, I have been thinking about the use of cash while traveling in California for the past few weeks and I realize its benefits more than ever. Twice now, I have been in stores where the credit card machine broke, one for two days, and the owners would only accept cash for purchases. The beach area I am staying now has a sign up, “Cash only” because they either don’t want to deal with credit cards, it’s too expensive or some of their clientele doesn’t have access to a bank account or credit card. While shopping, my credit card wouldn’t work. Why? I am traveling in an unknown area and the card was locked down. When I tried to call on a weekend to get the card re-activated, no one would answer my call. Thank goodness, I have a few bucks on me to get me through until the week starts.

Helen Smith is a psychologist specializing in forensic issues in Knoxville, Tennessee, and blogs at Dr. Helen.
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