A ‘cash-free future’?

by Flyover

Many societies are becoming more and more cashless. Some restaurants won’t even take cash anymore. I usually take $200 from the ATM at a time, and this will usually last me at least six weeks. The NYT says that in Sweden, which has moved towards cashless more quickly than some other countries, “the government is recalculating the societal costs of a cash-free future.”

The article also references the fact that some tech types in Sweden are implanting a microchip into their finger which can be used to pay for things.

Thousands Of Swedes Are Inserting Microchips Under Their Skin

(Although it’s still a TINY number — “thousands” of Swedes are doing this, but the country has a population of 10 million.)

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108 thoughts on “A ‘cash-free future’?

  1. Maybe I’m getting set in my ways and/or a luddite, but I hate cash free places. And no I’m not adding a tip for counter service. (The two seem to go hand in hand.)

  2. Meme,

    I was thinking they meant consumer cash deposits but they would still accept business cash deposits. But it looks like the don’t accept cash, they keep no cash on hand and they do not dispense cash.

    At more than half of the branches of the country’s biggest banks, including SEB, Swedbank, Nordea Bank and others, no cash is kept on hand, nor are cash deposits accepted.

  3. Maybe I’m getting set in my ways and/or a luddite, but I hate cash free places. And no I’m not adding a tip for counter service. (The two seem to go hand in hand.)

    Ditto. I still use cash at times. And I refuse to tip for counter service. The jars on every counter are bad enough, but I really hate that they use receipts with the tip line so they make you feel cheap if you don’t tip. I like to tip delivery drivers in cash rather than adding it to the charge so they get to keep all of it.

    Cash will never go away in Colorado and the other stats with legal pot until the dispensaries are allowed to use the banking system.

  4. I mostly like cash-free since it’s usually easier. But I always carry cash on me because occasionally I will need it, like tipping a luggage handler. My kids insist on going cashless, and they’ve gotten stuck a time or two.

  5. I, too, take out a $100-150 at a time and it lasts for weeks. I tend to pay with my credit card because it is cash back and over the course of the year our “bonus” becomes our Christmas budget. Much of life has gone cashless, but the one I lament is with kids at school. In their normal lives they don’t deal with money, so they don’t learn to make change or see it in a concrete way.

    The big issue is what happens when your cashless system goes down – fires in California, hurricanes in Texas – and you don’t have the power for them.

  6. I always use cash for:
    the housekeeper (every other week), we could probably venmo* that
    my barber (every 4 weeks), cash only place
    buying lottery tickets (randomly and I don’t know if I would want to charge them even if I can)
    tipping the kids who dry my car at the carwash

    DW seems to use cash much more frequently, possibly because we only have one debit card which I keep and she doesn’t want either a second one on the same account or one linked to her account:
    coffee out (exception: Starbucks where she’s got value added to her card; I don’t know why she doesn’t do the same with Dunkin)
    lunches out with her friends
    hairdresser & nail place tips
    slipping kids $20 or whatever when they leave (though they’d rather have it venmo’d or zelle’d…she is the Luddite, Kerri, and isn’t ready to join that world yet)

    * still autocorrects to ‘venom’ but I caught it in time

  7. “’We’re spending a lot of resources on a very small percentage that actually need the service,’ he said.”

    Well, yes, that is how things tend to go. But that is also where the goals of commerce collide with the needs of a society. It is in the best interest of Ikea, or banks, or whomever else to reach the most people at the lowest cost. But when that product or service is a basic need, it is the job of the government to ensure that all the rest have access, too — not to mention that we don’t let our fondness for cool tech get ahead of the security concerns (e.g., there’s a difference between individuals speculating on bitcoin and an entire government relying on e-currency).

    Personally, I love cashless. I spent a recent stopover making plans for my Thanksgiving trip — open the SW app, check flights, it already has my FF and Global Entry in there, book on points, click on saved SW Visa to pay the fees. It was all done in under 5 minutes (about 8 of which was making the decision and texting times to people).

  8. The big issue is what happens when your cashless system goes down – fires in California, hurricanes in Texas

    Did the system go down? Gas stations rely on electric pumps so if there is no power there is no gas so having cash won’t do you any good. In terms of Home Depot and Kroger do they stay open with no power using calculators and cash?

  9. entire government relying on e-currency

    That part has me confused. If the Fed needs to increase the money supply it buys treasury bonds. Where does it get the money? It just creates it electronically. M2 is currently $14 trillion with cash in domestic circulation at $500 billion or 3%. Our currency is almost all electronic as it is.

  10. In looking up M1, M2 etc. its surprising how often Travelers Checks come up. They can’t still be a thing, can they?

  11. “The big issue is what happens when your cashless system goes down – fires in California, hurricanes in Texas

    Did the system go down? Gas stations rely on electric pumps so if there is no power there is no gas so having cash won’t do you any good. In terms of Home Depot and Kroger do they stay open with no power using calculators and cash?”

    The idea is that when you are hungry and some commercial establishment offers to feed you for free, you can give them some cash in compensation

    Also, it is a good idea to keep your car with at least half a tank, in which case you can get to the area of the state that has power, fuel and the 21st century.

    Been through earthquake, flood and fire

  12. Today you have fewer opportunities to use travelers checks: They are no longer widely accepted at stores and hotels either in the US or worldwide. Still, they could be helpful in a few specific situations:
    – where ATMs are sparse
    – traveling where your are truly worried about safety
    – in case of a true emergency and atms are down

  13. Also, it is a good idea to keep your car with at least half a tank, in which case you can get to the area of the state that has power

    I also keep $50 in my glove compartment in case I lose (or forget) my wallet.

  14. In addition to whatever actual spending cash she has, DW always has a crisp Benjamin in her wallet.

  15. I also keep $50 in my glove compartment in case I lose (or forget) my wallet.

    One time, my brother and I were driving home from college, and neither of us had very much cash. We made it home, laughing about how we had no money or fuel….hehehe…we were so dumb. My dad was just disgusted with us and handed each of us twenty dollars to keep in our wallets for emergencies.

    Still keep some emergency cash in my wallet.

  16. My limited experience – Have had power down, but payment system working due to a UPS locally no power issues at other locations the payment system has to interact with; and have had no payment system, but power. In part, this is due to geographic location – the pumps may have power, but the location that the computer payment system has to reach does not.

  17. One other thing to keep in mind many POS systems have an offline mode. As long as they have power you can use your credit card. The system just securely stores the info until the connection comes back up.

    How Does it Work?
    Offline mode simply saves all of your transactions locally and then automatically uploads the information once you’re reconnected to the internet.

    Check before you swipe.
    When you swipe payments in Offline Mode, you’re responsible for any expired or declined transactions or resulting charge-backs. Before you accept a card offline, be sure to check the name and expiration on the card to ensure it’s valid. You can also reduce your risk by setting a per-transaction limit for offline payments.

  18. I heard a show on WNYC on this issue. There is a lot of concern that this would push poor people even further to the margins, since they are much more cash dependent than the rest of us.

  19. I am all for a more cashless society, for myself personally. I so very rarely use cash, and I would say that most of the time, I have less than $20 in cash. Sometimes zero. I have even stopped using cash at the farmer’s market, which was the main place I was still using it – they all use Square now.

    Obviously – there are societal issues around the unbanked and those with terrible credit, etc. But for myself, I love the convenience.

    I get really annoyed at people my own age & socioeconomic status who have ZERO way to pay them electronically. e.g., paying friends for your share of something, contributing to a gift, contributing to a school fund. Just this week, I had to dig up multiple small amounts of cash for school things (Room mom type stuff), and I find it so annoying. No – I don’t want to leave an envelope with $8 in exact change in your kid’s cubby, and no I don’t want to write a check for $8 either. Let me use Venmo, PayPal, Zelle, ApplePay – anything!

  20. I also see it as sad for kids. I always liked sending my kids off to the grocery store or the bagel place, cash in hand, to go pick up milk or buy themselves some lunch. I wouldn’t have given them my plastic because I would worry about loss.

    Having worked on major software projects in the area of e-payments back when I was an industry nerd, I have very serious reservations about security in a cashless world. Eventually the cashless economy rests on code written by people who know little about security and who make mistakes all the time.

  21. I use cash and checks far more than I would have imagined in this day and age. The violin teacher, the housecleaner, the gift collection for the department secretary, the fundraiser for school stuff, the ADHD therapist, the cross country coach – they all want checks or cash.

  22. “I get really annoyed at people my own age & socioeconomic status who have ZERO way to pay them electronically.”

    +1

    Last night DW and her sister went in together on a gift for a nephew. DW bought it and SIL said she’d venmo her share…be we don’t have venmo (I have Zelle & ApplePay, which to date have been perfect for me). So I enlisted DS1’s help since she could venmo it to him and, since h’s checking acct is at the same bank as ours transfer me the money. [I established my venmo acct this morning]

  23. Eventually the cashless economy rests on code written by people who know little about security and who make mistakes all the time.

    Cash gets lost, stolen, embezzled, etc. all the time as well. Not to mention the cost to count, store, transport, insure, etc.

  24. From the WSJ last week, on Venmo:

    Few social-media experiences have made me cringe more than viewing my “friend” list on the peer-to-peer payment app Venmo for the first time. Seeing the names of people I’d been on dates with years ago was jarring. Seeing someone I’d blocked on Facebook was unsettling. Seeing names I didn’t recognize and couldn’t find in my contacts was baffling. But one name horrified me above all others: my former therapist.

    I went to her profile, clicked on her friend list and saw another name I recognized, the friend who initially referred me. It hit me that I was scrolling through a list that included a psychologist’s patients.

    Venmo does well what it’s supposed to do: let friends exchange money quickly and easily. By default, it posts those transactions in a social-media-style feed—seeing who shared meals and drinks with whom, and which emojis they favor, can make an otherwise boring process mildly entertaining.

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    Theoretically, Venmo lets users control who sees those posted items. But Venmo has a spotty record on privacy and transparency: In February, the FTC announced a settlement with Venmo’s parent company, PayPal Holdings Inc., after finding Venmo “misled consumers about the extent to which they could control the privacy of their transactions.” PayPal didn’t pay a fine but agreed to make privacy-policy updates and to make sharing controls clearer.

    Still, Venmo has so far been unwilling to make privacy adjustments to some of the features many users have issues with. Between the uproar this past summer over the app’s public-by-default settings, the enduring inability to make your “friend” list private, and my feeling like a potential victim of a HIPAA violation, I started wondering if I—or anyone else—should really be using the app. Figuring that out took far more digging than users should reasonably have to deal with.

    Here’s what I learned, and what you can do to protect yourself on Venmo:

    1. Venmo Transactions Are Public by Default

    Because Venmo’s default privacy setting is Public—allowing all transactions to be seen by Venmo users—you should go in and change it to Friends or, better yet, Private.
    Because Venmo’s default privacy setting is Public—allowing all transactions to be seen by Venmo users—you should go in and change it to Friends or, better yet, Private. PHOTO: VENMO
    Venmo’s social feed is populated by transactions between users. All these posts are publicly visible by default. That means unless you change your settings, anyone (researchers included) can see whom you paid.

    To change that, tap the three lines in the app’s top left corner, select settings and then hit Privacy. You can choose Friends or Private, which means a transaction will be visible only to you and the person you exchanged money with. To change who can see your old posts, go to Privacy > Past Transactions.

    2. Contact Syncing Isn’t Mandatory (But Appears to Be)

    When signing up for a Venmo account, you have the option to skip Facebook friend syncing by tapping Not Now, but there is no similar button for phone-contact syncing.
    When signing up for a Venmo account, you have the option to skip Facebook friend syncing by tapping Not Now, but there is no similar button for phone-contact syncing. PHOTO: VENMO
    When users create a Venmo account, they’re asked to sync their contacts. You can go back or forward, but there’s no Skip or Not Now button.

    If iPhone users select Next, they see an iOS popup asking for contact access. You might assume you have to click Allow, but you can hit Decline and still create an account.

    I don’t normally sync contacts, but when I signed up for Venmo in 2015, I enabled syncing. To check your syncing status—and switch it off—go to Settings > Friends & Social.

    3. Your Friend List Is Always Visible

    Venmo friend lists are visible to other users and can’t be made private. Don’t feel bad if you didn’t know this: The company didn’t mention it in its privacy policy until September.

    Venmo’s definition of “friends” is very loose, as evidenced if you sync your contacts. Unlike Facebook or LinkedIn, which search your phone book and give you the option to add connections, Venmo automatically adds to your friend list any saved contacts who also sync their phone books with the app.

    If you have contact syncing turned on, the app checks your phone book regularly—every 28 days for iOS, every week for Android. Venmo adds any new contacts, but won’t remove phone contacts you’ve deleted. That’s why some “friends” might look like strangers.

    You can’t hide your friend list, regardless of your privacy settings. This means that you’re publishing your phone book. It won’t show everyone, but it will include anyone in your phone who also synced contacts on Venmo. That might include your boss or, well, your therapist.

    Why can’t we make this private? “Because Venmo was designed for sharing experiences with your friends in today’s social world, we try to make it as easy as possible to connect with other Venmo users,” a spokeswoman said.

    4. You Can Cull Your Friend List

    Additional ways to make your Venmo account more private: Turn off Facebook Connect and contact syncing, change the privacy settings of past transactions, and unfriend anyone you don’t want to share information with.
    Additional ways to make your Venmo account more private: Turn off Facebook Connect and contact syncing, change the privacy settings of past transactions, and unfriend anyone you don’t want to share information with. PHOTO: VENMO
    What you can do is unfriend people—but you’ll have to find your friend list first! Clicking on your profile won’t display it to you. Instead, tap the three lines and go to Search People. Scroll past Top People to see them all. Remove people by tapping their profiles and unchecking the friend icons.

    It’s important to review your friend list if you’re sharing transactions with friends, since that list may be longer than you realize. If you never synced contacts, the list could be virtually empty.

    5. There’s a Difference Between Facebook Connect and Facebook Contacts

    Go to Settings > Friends & Social and you’ll see Facebook Connect and Facebook Contacts.

    The first creates a link between your two accounts. I suggest disabling this. Facebook recently had a security breach, and like many apps, when you agree to connect, you’re sharing information in both directions that may not be apparent. No, thanks.

    The second simply adds Venmo-using Facebook friends to your account who’ve also synced. Like contacts, they’ll stay in your Venmo friend list even after you unfriend them on Facebook.

    6. Bank Account Syncing Isn’t Mandatory, Either

    In a fairly recent addition to its privacy policy, Venmo says, “If you connect your Venmo account to other financial accounts…we may have access to your account balance and account and transactional information, such as purchases and funds transfers.”

    Given that Venmo is a payment app, it makes sense that the company would need to access some financial information to facilitate payments and confirm you have the funds to cover your transactions. Venmo’s spokeswoman told me the company doesn’t actually access users’ transaction information.

    It’s a small relief. The company has privacy issues and has framed the social aspect of the app as core to its existence. Meanwhile, that FTC complaint alleged that Venmo “misrepresented the extent to which consumers’ financial accounts were protected by ‘bank-grade security systems.’” (The company said it made “appropriate changes” in response.) And lately, Venmo has been grappling with a spike in fraud.

    If you’re really concerned, you could unsync your bank account. The app won’t be as functional, and you’ll have to use incoming funds to pay for things. But if Venmo is just a pizza-and-beer slush fund for you, that might be all you need.

    Venmo’s hold on its users is pretty strong. So strong that I don’t feel like I can stop using it yet, because no one has ever asked me to “Square” or “Zelle” them. But I’ll be happy to jump ship if and when a more privacy-minded app comes along.

    For more WSJ Technology analysis, reviews, advice and headlines, sign up for our weekly newsletter. And don’t forget to subscribe to our Instant Message podcast.

  25. “The violin teacher, the housecleaner, the gift collection for the department secretary, the fundraiser for school stuff, the ADHD therapist, the cross country coach – they all want checks or cash.”

    For us –

    Housekeeper – Zelle
    Guitar Teacher – Through a music school – autopay with CC
    School Tuition – ACH
    Sports – All paid via an online signup & portal
    Aftercare activities – Sign up & pay via online portal
    Work collections – primarily Venmo (I work with a lot of millenials)

    It’s really just the room parent school stuff that is cash/check. And my own friends. These are GenX aged people, and I think that they should get with the 2018 program instead of trading $5 checks!

  26. My Mom peers are early adopters. I started getting Venmo/Zella/PayPal information to send payments instead of cash/check.

  27. For those that use Venmo and have it synced to your bank account, were you aware that it gives Venmo the right and ability to then view your bank account activity? Are you OK with that? This is the kind of stuff that makes me just give $8 in cash to a class parent…

  28. “Cash gets lost, stolen, embezzled”
    Yeah, but if you lose your $50 bill, that is all you lose. It doesn’t spread from there. Also, our society has far, far, far, more experience keeping cash secure. There are just so many security holes in computer code, many of which no one even realizes are there yet.

  29. ? “Because Venmo was designed for sharing experiences with your friends in today’s social world, we try to make it as easy as possible to connect with other Venmo users,”

    I find that hippy dippy tech speak vaguely creepy.

  30. Just this week, I had to write a check to the cross country coach for the banquet, and to the model congress club to pay for an event my kid is going to next month. And another to the plumber who came to snake out our main line two days ago. None of these people take anything else. I think the cashless services have not caught on as fast in this area.

  31. “Yeah, but if you lose your $50 bill, that is all you lose. It doesn’t spread from there. Also, our society has far, far, far, more experience keeping cash secure. There are just so many security holes in computer code, many of which no one even realizes are there yet.”

    If someone steals my credit card – I end up up zero dollars. You dispute the charge, and it gets reversed. I don’t get the fear of “spreading”.

    Even when my whole wallet got stolen, the only thing that I was really out in the end was the CASH plus the cost to replace my driver’s licence. And probably a frequent sub club card.

  32. Have you seen the article that’s going around about the woman who kept getting Facebook and other ads for new moms and newborn stuff after her child had died? Heartbreaking.

  33. Well, DH asked me for a check to send to the Department of State for passport renewal. He doesn’t do checks anymore so I anytime he needs a check he comes to me.
    Kids school are trying to get as many items set up to pay electronically but it’s still not 100%.

  34. I think I put the checkbook where I can find it, but I use it SO rarely, that I always spend a day trying to remember that safe place. I wrote checks to the pest control guy until he finally told me that he as an electronic payment method. Otherwise, I wrote a series to our contractor (home remodel) and I prefer not to pay the IRS electronically. I would say I write less than 1 check a month on average. But, I will use cash to settle with most of my peers. Few do electronic payments and I will always have cash on hand when I know we are going out.

  35. There are just so many security holes in computer code,

    Almost all your assets are just computer code. Getting $50 out of the ATM is riskier because of card skimming. They can drain your account and then you’ll have to wait for the bank to deal with it. With a CC the risks of loss are lower.

  36. I write ~8 checks/month and make small purchases with cash. One of DD’s preschools only takes cash or check. I don’t much care about privacy on Facebook because we are so dull but I worry about anything involving money, because money tempts people. I have no interest in having to monitor the security of money transfer options during their various acquisitions and privacy policy changes over the years. I have Paypal linked to a credit card (not bank account) and that’s it.

  37. “If someone steals my credit card – I end up up zero dollars”
    I have had my credit card info stolen twice in the last couple of years, and both times it was an enormous hassle. I had to wade through reams of fraudulent charges, and spent hours on the phone with the security people. In the end it was true that I was not out any money (at least I hope – I think I successfully found all the weird charges to furniture stores I never heard of), but at the cost of a lot of my time.
    There is also the issue that once a hacker has your credit card number, they can do other things with it.

  38. “He doesn’t do checks anymore ”

    What does that mean? Can I just declare that I don’t do [dishes, cooking, child doctors’ appointments] anymore and oila! some else does it?

  39. Someone skimmed DH’s ATM card and Schwab was fantastic about it. One phone call and the card was shut down, another one issued and we were reimbursed for all the fraudulently withdrawn funds.

  40. We just got cupcakes from a client. I’m proud to report to this crowd that I only ate 1/2 of one. =)

  41. No one has ever refused cash from me. However, when traveling i often just have my phone with a room key and visa, and it is much faster to pay even for coffee, shudder, with the card. But i am old school. If i pay cash I mentally record the under 50 dollar expenditures. With a card it seems like play money.

  42. How many purchases/month does your household typically make? Not counting autopay monthly bills or the ~60 school lunch purchases/month, we make ~40-50 purchases/month with debit or credit, ~8-10 checks and ~10 with cash in our household. We don’t live within walking distance of anything and there are no businesses in the ~12 miles between home and work.

    I’m curious if we are typical or atypically low. I don’t think we are atypically high.

  43. I am really careful about ATM machines because of the skimming risk. I did have my debit card compromised once (as opposed to many many times for my credit card over the years), and it was similar to the compromised credit cards in terms of pain – way too long on the phone with security, but no financial loss in the end.
    You should also realize that your credit card can be skimmed too. Lots of problems with that at gas stations.

  44. Shoot, we probably have @80/mo just on food — DH eats out every workday, DD gets Dunkin or pizza or whatever just about every day, so add in weekend bagels, groceries, takeout, the occasional date night, and my occasional lunch/tea, and we’re there.

    Wow, that’s really sad when you frame it up that way.

  45. My card was skimmed several times in just a couple years. Not long after we moved, I saw an article about a clampdown on skimmers, highlighting a gas station right around the corner from where we’d lived. I use/keep very little cash, so the wait for a replacement card was uncomfortable.
    DS has a teen debit card. I thought it’d be a good learning tool, but it’s been shut down for a few weeks & he can’t be bothered to fix it.
    I hate cash, but there are too many people who don’t have access to banks (what’s that word Becky uses? The underbanked?) to give it up.

  46. @WCE – I just looked. Every year that I have history for, it has averaged close to 120 transactions/month not including cash transactions (which are few). So about 3/day. That’s probably right. In the middle of the workweek, I can go days without spending any money at all, but then on the weekends it all adds up (including sitting down to pay bills).

  47. I check my bank and credit card transactions every other day. It really helps when you can see transactions in pending status and can review before they get posted to your account. It was once or twice in all the years of having a credit card, I caught a small transaction, reported it right away and changed my card. I also have minimal number of cards to check on so it’s not a hassle.

  48. # of transactions? I don’t know and don’t really care. Between bank bill pay (outgoing) and auto bill stuff that charges my credit card monthly (car wash place, Sirius, Netflix, gym membership), in person pay-as-I-go (groceries, gas, Home Depot) is it 100/mo?

  49. I read that WSJ Venmo article and my account is set to private for all that info. However, I notice others’ accounts and have seen transactions that I have no business seeing. In most cases they probably don’t care and the info means nothing to me, but still.

  50. Many of the teacher tutors around here will only take cash because they do not want any record of the income.

    I keep some cash in my house in case of emergencies or power outage. Some people were only accepting cash after some of the large storms with multiplied power outages.

    I like to put as much as possible on a credit card because of the points or cash back. I also like the record keeping and protection from a credit card. I try to use Venmo or PayPal with my friends when we buy large gifts for coaches etc.

    I always have cash with me for emergencies or tips. I also give cash to DD because most of her friends use cash to split checks in restaurants.

    I just took out a lot of cash this week for holiday gifts. I never seem to have enough cash in December!

  51. In addition to whatever actual spending cash she has, DW always has a crisp Benjamin in her wallet.

    You can run into problems finding someplace to break it. Better to keep 20s.

  52. Better to keep 20s.

    It’s sort of amazing that $100 were in routine circulation in say the 1950s. $100 in 1955 is $947 now. So a $10 in 1955 is equal to $100 now and a $100 is equal to $1000. As hard as it is to use a $100 can you imagine $1000 bills in regular circulation?

    Not to mention the high value bills they stopped printing in 1945.

    As of May 30, 2009, only 336 $10,000 bills were known to exist; 342 remaining $5,000 bills; and 165,372 remaining $1,000 bills.

    That’s the modern equivalent of having $100k bills, $50k bills and $10k bills.

  53. And the never for public consumption $100,000 bill from 1934 which would be $1.9 million adjusted for inflation.

  54. Lark – thank you so much for posting the Venmo article. I’ve used it once (to contribute to a gift for one of DD’s high school coaches) and I had no idea that the default settings were all public.

  55. Hmm….Many things are either an auto-draft from the bank or the credit card. I would say we average a couple of transactions a day outside of those. But, if definitely goes in cycles. Like last month and this month were holiday shopping months, July and August were back to school and move child to college months, and February and March have historically been prepaying for summer camps, etc.

  56. Talk of cash when systems go down remind me of the day, a few years ago (forgive if I’ve told this story on here before) when the grocery store’s network went down and the had to bring out the “cha-kung” thing I remember from childhood & probably young adulthood. Fine. Would take a little longer, but not much. Then it was handed to the cashier (store not had a couple) and sounded like those YouTube’s of 5 year old trying to figure out a dial phone or young kids with manual typewriters—such an amazingly cool old thing. Made me feel like an old thing, and not amazing or cool,

  57. “I also see it as sad for kids.”

    My first thoughts were along those lines too.

    I wanted to get DS a credit card on my account when he was about 16 and going overseas without us, but all our CC companies would not issue a card to anyone under 18.

  58. “Have you seen the article that’s going around about the woman who kept getting Facebook and other ads for new moms and newborn stuff after her child had died? “

    No, but I saw an article in WaPo about a woman who’d had a similar experience after a stillbirth. Might be behind a paywall:

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/lifestyle/2018/12/12/dear-tech-companies-i-dont-want-see-pregnancy-ads-after-my-child-was-stillborn/?noredirect=on&utm_term=.2e415b6d6f33

  59. “but all our CC companies would not issue a card to anyone under 18.”

    Interesting. I had no problems getting DS3, then 16, a card on my CapitalOne account when we visited your state in 2015. And I know I got the other two cards when they got their licenses (16.5); I don’t remember if those were C1 or BA.

  60. I have had my credit card info stolen twice in the last couple of years, and both times it was an enormous hassle. I had to wade through reams of fraudulent charges, and spent hours on the phone with the security people. In the end it was true that I was not out any money (at least I hope – I think I successfully found all the weird charges to furniture stores I never heard of), but at the cost of a lot of my time.

    Really – hours on the phone? Last time my number was stolen (I still had the card), it was about 10 minutes on the phone to review the charges. I got a new card a few days later and I was good to go. The biggest hassle was having to update a few auto payments to the new card number, and that was maybe 20 minutes total time.

  61. In my law practice, everyone pays me by check. Most people write out the check themselves; some have some sort of payment service send it to me (so I receive a check in the mail from the processing center, not the client). In almost seven years of solo practice, no one has ever complained about this. I do have a Square card reader, but I try not to use it because I lose money due to the fee I have to pay for the credit card transaction.

  62. WRT to the upsetting ads post loss of a child (or anyone, really)…this is not progress. I know google/amazon/target et al don’t know someone has just suffered a miscarriage, experienced a stillbirth, had a loved one killed in a car crash so they can’t unlearn about a search you just did yesterday, but I am so glad the internet search and remember thing wasn’t a prevalent thing in 1993.

  63. I just did a quick transaction count. For November, we had about 165 purchases, which includes auto payments and paying the credit cards.

  64. Interesting. I had no problems getting DS3, then 16, a card on my CapitalOne account when we visited your state in 2015.

    I also had no problem getting DS a card on my account last year at 16.

  65. WRT credit cards for kids under 18, IIRC our previous discussions on this suggested I shouldn’t have asked specifically if they’d issue cards to anyone under 18; I should’ve just requested a card for DS.

    I’ll try that approach if/when we want to get DD a card when she’s under 18.

  66. “I get really annoyed at people my own age & socioeconomic status who have ZERO way to pay them electronically.”

    We don’t do venmo or any other services like that (and thanks to Lark and the article she posted, we probably won’t do venmo), but you can have your bank send us a check using your bill payment service.

  67. Finn – Underbanked and unbanked have different meanings (cribbing from a federal reserve bank website):

    Unbanked: unbanked is an umbrella term used to describe diverse groups of individuals who do not use banks or credit unions for their financial transactions. They have neither a checking nor savings account.

    Underbanked consumers have either a checking or savings account, but also rely on alternative financial services. These households use non-bank money orders or non-bank check-cashing services, payday loan institutions, rent-to-own agreements or pawn shops on a regular basis.

  68. ”In addition to whatever actual spending cash she has, DW always has a crisp Benjamin in her wallet.
    You can run into problems finding someplace to break it. Better to keep 20s.”

    I agree, and keep a couple of 20s and one CC with my driver’s license. I don’t always take my wallet with me, e.g., if I’m just going to the fitness center for a workout, I’ll just grab the license/CC/cash lanyard.

    WRT cash kept on hand for times when electronic payment systems aren’t available, I suggest small bills. Don’t count on anyone being able to make change during such times, and thus avoid paying $20 for a $5 item.

  69. Kerri, thanks for the clarification.

    SM specifically asked about people w/o access to banks; your clarification is consistent with my post, but more illuminating.

  70. “how often Travelers Checks come up. They can’t still be a thing, can they?”

    I still have a hundred or 2 in Traveler’s Cheques in our safe. For many years they were my emergency cash.

    I should probably see if I can deposit them at my bank, and just keep cash for emergencies.

  71. @ L – but are you OK with the fact that Venmo has the ability to review your bank transactions? This is what I can’t wrap my head around.

    We have paypal, but it’s linked to a credit card, not a bank account. We can make a payment with no fee, but if someone made a payment to us, there’s a 3% fee. So that doesn’t solve anything for us.

    I just give cash.

  72. Our school started moving to online payments for fees this year, but they didn’t bother to tell the teachers. They started online registration this year as well, and emailed that they would be billing the class fees a couple of weeks after school started to give everyone a chance to add/drop classes. So the first day of school, DD says the gym teacher didn’t give her a lock because she hadn’t paid her fee. I emailed her and explained that they hadn’t billed me for it yet, and she said that she didn’t know about the new billing system.

    Then a few days later, DD said she needed a check for her another class. So I wrote the check. A week later I was billed online for that class fee. The check hadn’t been cashed so I asked DD to see if she could get it back. She said the teacher just had it sitting in a drawer and gave it back.

  73. “Last time my number was stolen (I still had the card), it was about 10 minutes on the phone to review the charges.”
    The last time, my CC had something like 500 fraudulent charges on it, racked up in a period of about 4 days, and the bank made me walk through every single last one and swear I had not made it. There were a few of mine mixed in too, adding to the fun.

  74. Do you remember the issuer of that CC? I hope it was a long time ago because most banks/Amex would never let hundreds of transactions go through without a fraud alert. They have sophisticated systems to detect this right away since it’s the bank that has to write off the fraudulent charges.

    It’s really easy to set up a notification that alerts you when a card is used. We get text messages as soon as our cards are used.

    Thanks for posting Venmo article. I thought I had the right privacy settings, but I’m going to delete my friends. I never linked my contact list, but I will think about using Zelle or PayPal after reading this article.

  75. “most banks/Amex would never let hundreds of transactions go through without a fraud alert. ”
    Yes. An example of how fast they can be: I once used my debit card at While Foods, walked up two flights of steps to Target, where my son was waiting at the register. I tried to buy what he wanted and was turned down. Called the bank and learned there had been a questionable purchase made while I was walking ;$500 at Walmart? Clearly not me). They agreed to open up the card again for me to buy the thing at Target and withdraw some cash, then closed it down permanently and sent me a new one. That was over 5 years ago.

    While we are talking banks & banking, does anyone know of a bank in the Us that uses I am, or have any idea how to get an I an account in the US?

    This post was typed not just on an iPhone, but one with a very bad screen. And I’m not wearing my readers. Please forgive any typos/funny autocorrects.

  76. SM-I don’t think US banks use iban. Why would you need iban vs just your routing and account number?

  77. Our CC (Chase) texts me if there is a charge that seems off to them. All I have to do is text back yes or no. Super easy.

  78. “Do you remember the issuer of that CC? I hope it was a long time ago because most banks/Amex would never let hundreds of transactions go through without a fraud alert.”
    It was Citibank, last February. Yes, they usually do the thing where they text you but for some reason their fraud alert didn’t kick in. It happened to me a few years ago too. also Citibank. My husband had a worse situation about 5 years ago when his credit card was hacked and used to make tons of online charges to porn and gaming sites.

  79. My DS is a signer on one of my cards, and is a frequent user of Steam. Apparently there is a lot of fraudulent activity there, because I seem to get a lot of random texts saying they’ve frozen my card and asking me to confirm the last three transactions, and I can’t make a purchase until I do. I do appreciate their vigilance.

    I rarely use cash. I pay the lawn guys with a check, and the occasional other one-off service people, like the guy who hung the Christmas lights, but in general prefer to use a card. That way I can track all my spending in Mint. Regarding post-hurricane, I had warned one my colleagues who was new to Houston and not a US native to get some cash prior to one of the hurricanes because of issues with trying to buy stuff when power was out. He thanked me profusely the next time I saw him, because he was able to buy a generator because he had cash when no one else in line did.

    Where my parents live, the city is trying to revitalize the downtown, there are nice housing and lofts going in, some fun places to eat/drink, etc, but they can’t keep a grocery store. They get robbed at gun-point repeatedly and close. If they went to a card-only model, there would be no cash to rob. I thought I was ingenious but hadn’t considered how it would marginalize the long-time residents of the area who are likely unbanked. My parents use cash heavily, and I’m sure they’re appalled at my use of debit cards for very minor purchases.

  80. I’m a single credit card carrier and user. In our visit to the great mouse land, my Chase card got flagged for fraud. After much back and forth with the car rental guy who couldn’t figure out how to re-run the card after I removed the flag, I paid the deposit in cash. Fortunately my mamma taught me that you always travel with cash, corkscrew and a swimsuit.

  81. ” Fortunately my mamma taught me that you always travel with cash, corkscrew, swimsuit, and two credit cards.” FTFY :)

    MM’s credit card story is really strange. I’ve had about half a dozen hacks and they were always resolved quickly and without cost to me. If anything, the credit card companies seem too eager to block new charges, similar to Ada’s story. Once I received a call that a man claiming to be my husband was trying to use my credit card in California. As it turned out, that man WAS my husband! His luggage had broken at the airport and for some reason when he tried to buy new luggage at one of the shops there they flagged the charge. He was not happy.

  82. Does anyone carry identity theft insurance? We did for a while because it’s part of my H’s employee benefits package. I’m torn whether it’s worth the cost to buy it again.

  83. Becky,, does he use your card directly on Steam? My son uses a paypal account that’s connected to my card. That extra step might make a lot of difference, because we don’t get those kinds of charges

    Ada, single?

    Swim, there used to be no problem for me to transfer money from a US account to a European one. Now it costs $20, and isn’t a transfer. I think having an Iban might make it easier.

  84. If anything, the credit card companies seem too eager to block new charges,

    I had a huge problem with that. I think they tweaked their system and suddenly all my travel related charges started getting flagged. It’s settled down fortunately. The last instance I got a call asking if I’d just taken a $800 cash advance at the Palms casino in Las Vegas. “No.” “Ok, you’ll have your new card in 2 days.”

    And I keep forgetting to make sure my CC pin numbers are set for Europe.

  85. I check my 4 credit cards and bank account at least 5 times a week, either on their apps or on the aggregation at my brokerage house.

  86. and two credit cards

    Yup, you should always have a backup.

    I have to carry a zip lock bag of quarters in the car for our local meters. PITA!

    I’m impressed you put them in a bag, I just leave the change loose in the center console.

    Does anyone carry identity theft insurance?

    I have it. It’s pretty cheap so I figured why not. Like all insurance, it’s not worth it until you need it :)

    And I keep forgetting to make sure my CC pin numbers are set for Europe.

    What do you have to do differently?

  87. What do you have to do differently?

    I don’t know any of the pin numbers. I mean I think I do know one of them. But I need to confirm.

  88. Ah. I read it as you had to set them in a different way to use them in Europe, rather than you just had to set them because you need to use them in Europe.

  89. Rhett, FWIW last year I was in Europe for 3 different trips, 3 different countries and never had to give a pin number once.

  90. I was in Europe for 3 different trips, 3 different countries and never had to give a pin number once.

    That’s good to know. IIRC MM had an issue at the train station kiosks.

  91. I did buy an Oyster card in London at a kiosk with no problem but did not do train tickets at all. I do think it’s better to know your pin – better safe than sorry.

  92. I have also had issues with PIN numbers in Europe, so I made sure to set a PIN before our last trip. And, of course, I never needed it. ;-) So it may vary country-by-country. OTOH, with my new business Visa, they are asking me for my PIN all. the. time., and for some reason half the time it doesn’t work (I know it’s the right PIN, because it works the other half of the time).

    @Rhett: those bills really bring home the magnitude of change in our financial system, don’t they? I am thinking in particular of the widespread trust in banks (not the case in the Depression, when that huge bill was printed), and the similarly widespread availability of credit that allows us to do everything with a magic piece of plastic instead of cash.

  93. Funny, I was just about to argue that you just need to refuse to give a pin for every credit card transaction in Europe. They ask, you say, I don’t have one, I’m an American, and it goes through. That’s what I did the two times I was there this year.

    But then I did remember that I couldn’t use my credit card at the train station kiosk. I had a debit card with me and that worked just fine. I complained to a friend and they said, oh, all the foreigners say they can only use debit cards at the train station.

  94. @Rhett: those bills really bring home the magnitude of change in our financial system, don’t they?

    It reminds you that it was an all paper system. When JP Morgan arranged for Andrew Carnegie to cash out of US Steel and paid him $480 million, that involved a lot of hand writing and the movement of physical securities. Giant stacks of stock certificates for a few trunks of Treasury bearer bonds and cash moving between JP Morgan in New York and Mellon Bank in Pittsburgh or however they did it.

  95. In the home country cash is used (big quantities) to evade taxes. Last year there was demonitization where the old money had to be deposited and new notes were issued. The implementation was terrible and for days people couldn’t exchange old notes for new because the new ones were being printed.
    The government there has tried to fight tax evasion and one way to do this is to go to electronic transactions.

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