There’s been a lot of talk about becoming a “cashless society”. Most of us pay for purchases with debit or credit cards, or even through our phones. You’ve probably even noticed that many self check-out lines have gone cashless. Some retailers are considering the concept of ditching cash entirely. And yet, there are several good reasons you should still carry a small amount of cash on you.
Minimum purchases at gas stations and other retailers. Because retailers must pay a fee in order to process credit card transactions, many impose a minimum purchase on their customers. If you find yourself facing a $5 or $10 minimum at a gas station, for example, you might feel forced to purchase more than that bottle of water you need. Whip out cash and you won’t have this problem… And you won’t make pricey impulse purchases.
Discounts. Some stores actually offer a discount to customers who pay with cash, so keep that in mind. You could save a bit of money over time by paying with cash at these places.
Restaurants. Sure, restaurant servers appreciate a cash tip. But there’s another reason to carry cash when eating out. If the place is packed and busy, you can simply place cash on the table and leave when you’re ready. There’s no need to wait on your server to process your payment, and your card never has to leave your sight.
Tipping. Yes, restaurants and some other places allow you to put the tip on a card. But some situations, such as hotel maids, valets, and others can are much easier when you carry cash.
Parking fees. In some places, parking lots are not yet equipped with debit card machines. Carry enough cash to cover the occasional parking fee, so that you aren’t forced to park far away from your destination.
Vending machines. Many vending machines are now equipped to accept cards. But when you’re parched with thirst and desperately need a drink, you’re bound to encounter a cash-only machine.
Secondhand purchases. You can save quite a bit of money by purchasing some items in good used condition. But many of these purchases will require cash, so keep a bit in your wallet in case you come across a great find.
You could lose or break a card. Today’s cards are equipped with high-tech chips, but the downside is that those chips can break. It’s also possible to lose a card, whether by theft or an accident. Having cash handy can get you out of a jam in the event that you find yourself cardless.
So will we truly go cashless? Or will digital payment simply be the norm at most retailers? No one knows for sure, but for now, it still pays to carry a bit of cash.