People have been predicting the death of physical money for years now. When credit cards, debit cards, cryptocurrencies, and mobile wallets started entering the market, people just expected virtual money to become the norm. But despite the ever-growing list of digital payment options now available to us, cash is still the leading method of payment and it’s here to stay. Here are some of the reasons why.
Everyone accepts physical money, but not everyone accepts newer forms of payment. Accepting credit cards is expensive for smaller businesses. They get dinged with fees from the credit card companies for every customer that makes a plastic purchase; the expenses rise quickly for the business owners who might have difficulty absorbing these costs. That’s why you see so many “cash only” signs in little mom and pop stores. Millions of small businesses don’t take plastic at all, which makes it difficult to make purchases at these stores if you don’t carry bills and coins on you.
And let’s not even mention how few brick-and-mortar stores will accept Interac e-transfers, PayPal transfers, or Bitcoin—it’s just not that popular, so people can’t rely on these payment options. Physical money is universal, accepted everywhere, making it the far more reliable option.
Big Brother is watching—but not if you use bills and coins. All digital forms of payment can be easily tracked, not only by the government, but by your parents, your spouse, or anyone else with access to your accounts. Cash is anonymous and untraceable, making it the best option for people who want others to stay out of their financial affairs.
No Sensitive Information Required
Data breaches are a serious risk when you use digital payments. Even with all the fraud protection that retailers deploy, criminals are still managing to steal people’s identities through their plastic purchases. They’re stealing credit card numbers and sensitive personal information, racking up fraudulent charges, and ruining people’s credit.
Some retailers will even sell your personal information to marketing agencies to make a quick buck, and then you’re left dealing with telemarketers and unwanted emails.
None of this occurs when you use greenbacks—retailers won’t have access to any of your personal information.
Digital currencies can’t quite match the security of physical money.
Keeping Spending in Check
Many people use the all-cash diet to keep their spending in check and budget how much they spend, leading to fewer spontaneous purposes. Take out a specific amount of money at the ATM, go to the mall, and spend until there’s nothing left. With a credit card, it’s easy to keep spending and spending when you don’t have much self-control.
It Offers Finality of Payment
When you give someone a cheque, you have to wait for the funds to clear. When you use your credit card, then you then have to pay your bill at a later date. But with physical money, you pay, leave, and never think about it again. Money offers a finality of payment that is attractive to customers.
Using cash is the cheapest payment option. Many businesses will pass on the credit transaction fee to the customer. If you don’t pay your bill on time, you’ll also be hit with interest fees. When you use your debit card, you may have to pay a fee per purchase. When you use Interac e-transfers, there’s a fee associated with it, too. But with cash, there’s no extra secondary charges to worry about.
If the power goes out or there’s a blip in a company’s electronic payment, there goes your way to pay if you rely solely on electronic payment methods. Cash, on the other hand, continues to be there for you at all times. It’s the most reliable option.
Don’t expect physical money to die out any time soon. There is simply no alternative system in place that is as safe, anonymous, convenient, and universal as physical money.