Three Reasons Cash Is Still King

advantages of paying cash, paying cash benefits, cash vs plastic

Debit and credit cards are commonly thought to be the pinnacle in payment convenience, requiring a swipe, the push of a few buttons and you’re on your way. Some may argue swiping a card is too convenient, potentially resulting overspending. To these people cash is king, preferring to add the visual aspect of seeing money being removed from their wallet or purse. In fact, there are even times when cash is more convenient than your debit or credit card.

During an early morning stop at Walmart to pick up a few needed items, I strolled into the self checkout area. I noticed three other customers looking confused, staring at their terminals each with a card in their hand. I could hear the echo of the friendly yet stern voice of the self-checkout systems saying, “Card not accepted.” Then I heard a Walmart employee on her radio calling for a manager to come quickly. “Everyone’s cards are being declined. I think the system is offline.”

I smiled as I walked up to one of the checkout terminals and scanned my items. When presented with my total, I opened my wallet and fed the machine the smooth green paper of hard currency. Through the chorus of, “card not accepted” still echoing throughout the area, my terminal instead said, “Please take your change. Thank you for shopping at Walmart.” I grabbed my items and headed for the door.

“Cash is always online,” I giggled to myself.

There are many reasons to like cash as a payment option:

  1. Always Online : We live in an electronically connected world, and those connections have been very reliable. However, they’re not perfect as illustrated by the above story. If the connection to the outside banking system is down, or there’s a malfunction in the system in general, electronic payment may not be possible.
  2. Always Accepted : Some businesses don’t accept checks, and not all forms of credit are universally accepted. But cash is never turned away.
  3. Adds Physicality : When you buy something with cash, you see the available funds decrease in your wallet or purse. When using a card some people don’t make that connection. Swiping a card is just an action taken to complete a purchase.

It’s more common than ever to see people using a card as a method of payment. But the case can still be made for cash as being king when it comes to spending.

How about you, Clever Friends, have you encountered a situation where cash was still the most convenient method of payment?

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About the author

Brock Kernin


  • I think it’s good to always have some cash available to you because you never know what is going to happen!

    That said, I am terrible with cash. Because it’s already left my bank account it feels like “free” money to me. If I see the transaction on my debit/credit card then I feel the pain of “losing” that money- I know this isn’t how the majority of people operate.

  • All of my traveling has taught me to always keep at least a little cash on hand. You really never know when a card won’t be accepted or your card might just go nuts when you’re traveling and freeze itself until you can call the company. Having some cash on hand makes that all so much less stressful.

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