Cash: don’t carry; you need your phone

rejected

moneyMy oldest college friend complained on Facebook. “It is almost impossible to use cash in the airport. You’re SUPPOSED to use a QR code to download a Health/Travelers form because there’s No Paper, but you need to sign up for an ACCOUNT to do it!!”

Yes, that was worth at least two exclamation points!!

There are a number of places where cash is no longer king. Getting food on an Amtrak train, for instance. A lot of retailers at markets seem greenback-averse. My running joke at a store register is “Do you still take cash?” Apparently, you CAN accept cash and checks with the service Square. Are businesses required by law to accept cash? It depends on where they are

What countries are going cashless? China’s society is, its central bank is pushing backSweden and Zimbabwe, for two, are also getting resistance.

Also, increasingly, I NEED to have a cellphone. When I’m making a medical appointment, I get notices on my phone. When I get there, some places require that I check in via the device. And the photo of my vaccine card is stored therein.

Not covered

Speaking of medical things, I had gone to my doctor in September to get two shots during my annual physical. In October, I received a bill for $125 for services not covered. My physician’s office seemed to think it was because I had received both the flu shot AND the tetanus shot at the same time. But that wasn’t it.

Medicare had rejected the tetanus shot, the representative told me. Now, they would have covered it if I had been bitten by an animal or stepped on a rusty nail, or had another medical necessity. But since I was ONLY getting it because physicians believe I should get one once a decade, Medicare didn’t cover it. And since Medicare rejected it, my Medicare supplement carrier ALSO rejected it.

I’ll have to remember to step on a rusty nail in the fall of 2031.

Cash is queen in our household

When the electronic systems go kablooey, operating with cash is a great way to go.


One morning in June, the Daughter needed $50 to go on a field trip to New York City. The earlier she turned it in, the more likely she could go. Oh, and it had to be in cash.

I almost never have such bills on me. Nor did my wife, but she DID have some envelopes with cash for her hairdresser, and for the groceries, that she could borrow from.

She generally pays for the groceries with cash because writing a check is too expensive, and it surely is. I pay with my credit card – where IS my checkbook? – because I like getting my rewards dollars and hate carrying a lot of cash.

When we first started going out, she had several envelopes filled with bills of various denominations, for every expenditure in her life at the time. I found this most unusual.

She also never uses an ATM card, which I still don’t quite get. If I had needed to get money for the Daughter that morning, I would have just walked over to my bank branch, a block and a half away, and just taken out three $20s.

I should note that her cash economy isn’t as rare as most of us would think. According to Pymnts, “an estimated 24 percent of U.S. citizens make all their purchases using cash.” Moreover, “in the U.S., cash usage grew by 4.7 percent per year between 2000 and 2015.”

When she does pay with a credit card, she often goes to the store to pay off the balance, usually in cash. I used to do that at Sears when I shopped there in the 1980s and 1990s, but I forgot that it was still an option.

As Dustbury pointed out, when the electronic systems go kablooey, operating with cash is a great way to go.

This is why we have three checking accounts, hers, mine, and ours, which I almost never use. It insures domestic tranquility.

Did I mention it’s her natal day? Maybe I’ll give her a couple $20s, a $10, and… some miscellaneous other bills.