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Why I pay in cash and why you may want to too

Whenever I'm out to buy something, as opposed to buying online, I pay for all the goods I buy in cash. Instead of handing over a card or inserting it into a card reader of sorts, I hand over the money directly to the cashier.

I try to do this even in situations where this is uncommon, in hotels for instance if they ask for your credit card. It is usually possible to deposit some money instead of handing over your card and that's what I do normally.

In this article I'm going to lay out the reasons for being against card and digital payment systems.

There is a large drive towards a cashless society where everyone pays by card or digitally with the help of smartphones, watches, or other means of identification.

While that may seem comfortable at first, it introduces a series of problems at the same time.

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Lets take a look at some of the issues and find out how cash and non-cash payments differ here.

  1. It is harder to keep track of payments if you pay digitally.
  2. There is a chance that you buy more than you can afford.
  3. Fees and commissions.
  4. You give up control.
  5. With card and digital payments, your information get stored and one can link payments to purchases.
  6. Card and payment information are stored as well, and may be stolen by thieves.

It is harder to keep track of payments if you pay digitally or by card and there is a chance that you buy more than you can afford.

While some people may be able to keep track of all their card and digital payments throughout the month, for instance by keeping a detailed record of all their payments, most likely don't.

This falls in line with the second argument against digital payment systems: buying more than you can afford.

With cash, all you can spend is what you have. That's easy enough to keep an eye on throughout the day or month. With cards and digital payments, many don't really know how much they have left to spend which may lead to debt in the long run.

According to studies, people spend between 12% and 18% more when they are using credit cards.

Fees and commissions

Even though you may not pay fees or commissions while using credit cards, merchants to usually. While you could say that this is the problem of the merchant then, guess who is paying the bill in the end?

With cash payments, there are not any fees or commissions involved. Well, unless your bank charges you for withdrawing money from ATMs for example or directly.

Control

If you have followed the crisis of the Euro you may have seen videos or pictures of people standing in line in front of banks trying to withdraw money to make purchases and regain control over it.

While you give up control when you use banks, you give up even more when cash money is not used anymore.

Privacy

Cash payments cannot be tracked while card payments can. Every card payment is stored digitally so that anyone with access can not only find out what you bought and how much you paid for it, but also where you bought it and when.

Security

Your payment information may not be stored permanently by companies but they are at the very least until the payment has been processed correctly.

Recent and not so recent attacks on point of sale systems in the United States have shown how dangerous this can become. Home Depot confirmed a breach affecting stores in the US and Canada recently where attackers managed to gain access to 56 million customer payment cards and a hack of Target earlier this year leaked more than 40 million card information.

Closing Words

Card payments are convenient which in my opinion is the only thing that is positive about them. It may sometimes be also more secure especially when it comes to making large payments and depending on where you live and buy.

There may be situations where you need to pay by card. Depending on the country you are living in, credit card payments may be the norm while cash payments are not.

Here in Germany, the majority of customers pay cash when they shop locally while part pays using debit cards. Credit Card payments on the other hand are not even supported by many shops.

In the US, things are different. In 2012, plastic card purchases comprised 66 percent of all in-person sales according to a report published in 2012 by market research firm Javelin Strategy & Research with projections that the figure will increase further in the coming years.

This article was first seen on ComTek's "TekBits" Technology News

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