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Cash or Credit Card?

Aug 02, 2018 10:00AM
By Joe Capell

I like cash. Don't we all? (And I'm not talking about Johnny Cash. Although I can't help but sing along anytime I hear "Ring of Fire.") I like the look and feel of dollar bills in my wallet. (There's not much in there right now.) There's something very gratifying about paying for something with a crisp (or wrinkly) bill, then getting a few bills of smaller denominations and some coins handed back as change.

Too bad that doesn't happen very often anymore.

Credit cards have taken over. We use them at the grocery store. At the gas pump. At the hair salon. At the restaurant. (Pretty much everywhere.)

But, as much as I like cash, there are times when a credit card is more convenient, such as the gas station. Pre-paying with a card can save time, hassle, and keep me from going into the store and buying unneeded junk food. Pre-paying with cash isn't good. If you want to fill the tank it turns into a game of "The Price Is Right" as you guess how much to pay (without going over) to get your tank full (without flowing over.) Because if you've pre-paid, the last thing you want to do is traipse back inside the store to get some change. (I know I said earlier that I like getting change, but not if I have to walk all the way back into the store and stand in line for $1.28.)

Credit cards make things easier at the grocery store, too. Do you remember getting in line, then discovering in horror that the person in front of you is trying to pay with a check? They would always look at their checkbook as if they had never written a check before in their entire life. And why not fill everything in but the amount and signature beforehand while waiting in line? Were they somehow suddenly surprised by the fact they would be paying by check? At least that's now a thing of the past.

Having said that, cash still does have many advantages over credit cards. Such as:

1. You never have to wonder if you need to swipe your cash or put it into the chip reader. 2. With cash, you never have to wait for approval. 3. No one denies cash! 4. When you pay with cash, you only pay once. Unlike credit cards, there will be no monthly bill from the cash company asking you to pay again for all the things you already paid for once. 5. There is no legendary country singer named Johnny Credit Card.

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