Is Physical Money Officially Obsolete?

money in hand

In the USA, the quantity of physical money (paper money and coins) in circulation has grown over the past two decades, but usage of cash for payments is decreasing, according to Herald and News. While people are turning to physical money less often in America these days, paper money and coins still have their place. Technology is changing our attitudes towards physical money, but there are “pros” to having physical money on hand at all times. While a cashless society will inevitably be a reality someday, cash will be around for a long time yet. Everyone should understand the advantages of carrying and using cash.

Cash payments aren’t as traceable

If privacy is a concern, and you’re not paying for stuff with high-tech cryptocurrencies, you should rely on cash for payments sometimes, because it’s a relatively private way to pay. While paying cash for larger purchases, such as cars and costly electronics, may not makes sense, making cash payments for smaller items will be a good way to ensure that financial institutions won’t be tracking your financial activity. Cash isn’t traceable the way that debit and credit card payments are. While everyone doesn’t care about living (and spending) off the grid, cash is a good way to boost privacy.

Cash helps indie retailers to survive

Local retailers, such as mom and pop concerns, tend to appreciate cash payments, because they may not have the infrastructure to accept the latest mobile payment apps. Some stores only accept cash, because they can’t afford to pay high fees for credit and debit card processing. While big box retailers will offer the latest electronic payment options, many smaller businesses can’t provide the same options until they scale up. You may help local companies by giving them cash for goods and services. Depositing and withdrawing cash from local financial institutions is also a good way to keep them profitable within your own community. Bank clerks need transactions to complete in order to stay employed.

Cash may curb overspending

Suze Orman is a financial guru who believes in the power of cash payments. She knows that using cash for smaller purchases is a good way to keep spending in check. When you carry a certain amount of cash, which represents the amount that you can afford to spend during a shopping trip, you’ll know that you’ve hit your spending limit when your cash runs out. With debit or credit cards, it’s often possible to keep spending beyond your means, due to credit limits and overdraft protection.

Using cash also means no interest payments to worry about. Interest payments really add up. Those who are financially savvy do all that they can to minimize or eliminate interest payments. Paying in cash takes interest fees out of the equation.

While going cashless is often a simple and fast way to pay, it’s not always private, it may hurt local businesses and it may lead to overspending. Keeping cash on hand and using it for smaller purchases is the key to enjoying more privacy, supporting indie businesses and local banks, and spending within your means. Cash is not obsolete. It always has its place.


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