Cashlessness

count-back-change cashier

Say goodbye to cash.  You might want to frame a few crisp new one dollar bills.  They are about to become history.

Have you noticed how few occasions we have left to use cash? The decline started years ago when credit cards were introduced.  However, as banks were earning windfall profits as we all went into massive debt, we     learned to temper our enthusiasm for the new ‘currency.’  Banks then introduced debit cards to earn fees in another way.  Cash was really beginning to take a backseat.  In 2011, with changing regulations and fees to merchants limited, the banks wavered for a moment, while they tried to decide if debit cards were still good business. Banks are getting people to use debit and credit cards in greater and greater numbers, earning more and more fees.

Mastercard and Visa once charged merchants a flat $0.15 fee plus a percentage of the billed amount. When the item was very small, $1 to $5, the $0.15 plus 2 1/2% or more fees became a hefty portion of the overall transaction.  This caused merchants to discourage card use for small items.  Merchants posted signs “Minimum $10 purchase to use credit cards”.  Those signs are all but a thing of the past when regulations made the fees for all purchases big and small the same. The days of cash for small items were numbered.

People don’t carry much cash anymore.  Now, there are just a few cash holdouts left.  Using cash for tips became more difficult as the check amounts got larger and people paid the bill with a card.  It was just easier to add the tip to the amount.  EZPASS made cash for tolls a thing of the past.    There’s a small “cash only” Italian restaurant in Brooklyn that we frequent and cash only sidewalk food carts.  You can still buy a “BEER HERE!” at the ballpark with cash.  The babysitter still requests cash.   Taxis have had to accept cards when the bills got too damn big.  I’m still in the habit of going to the atm and withdrawing cash the day before long trips.  I’m used to cash-intensive taxi/hotel/airport travel days.  But even those days have become cashless.  It seems like the only thing my wallet is good for now is to hold my bank cards and thousands of receipts.

Take a selfie with a dollar bill. They are soon to go the way of the subway token.