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  • Wendell Brock

Is Cash Still King?

It seems like everything is available online these days. With more and more of our lives moving online (communication, work, scheduling, meetings, socializing, games, and so much more) is it any surprise that 81% of Americans shop online? In 2023 there were 274.7 million online buyers. A 2023 study done by the Federal Reserve found that credit cards were the most preferred payment method for most US consumers, making up 31% of all payments. The myriad online purchases and the ever-increasing push towards digital currency begs the question: does cash still have a place in our economy?

 



While shopping online has certainly made some things easier and more convenient cash isn’t quite ready to give up the crown. There are still a lot of benefits to using cash.

 

In an economy where every penny matters, using cash helps pinch those pennies a little more because it incurs no fees. In contrast, every time you swipe a card, you’re being charged a processing or transaction fee.

 

Shoppers that use cash don’t have to worry about overspending because they are limited to what they have in their wallet. Using cash goes beyond just what consumers carry with them; a study done by MIT showed that people are willing to spend up to 100% more on transactions that involved digital payments. Often, using digital currency gives people the feeling they have more spending power than they actually do.



 

Paying with cash can keep you from impulse spending. This is very beneficial when budgeting and allotting certain amounts of money for each area of spending. 

 

Paying with cash helps small businesses. Every time a customer swipes a card the credit card companies charge fees the small business must pay. In the long run, handling cash is cheaper for business.

 

Cash can offer better privacy when it comes to your personal information. When using digital payment methods, you leave a digital trail which can be picked up by hackers and other cyber criminals.

 

There are some downsides to cash, while your personal information is safer with cash, the risk of loss is higher and much more difficult to rectify. Whereas, credit cards and mobile wallets can be frozen, and often reimbursed. Another drawback to cash is its bulk. Carrying stacks of bills and cumbersome coins can be bothersome, especially when compared to the slim credit or debit card.

 

Whether using cash or digital currency there will be limits and advantages to either. It’s best to find a balance that works for your budget and helps you create and keep healthy spending habits.

 


 Photo 2 by Nathan Dumlao

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