All I wanted was some cilantro and onions, and I didn’t have the money. Correction: I had the money, but it was in my bank account, not in my pocket. The corner fruit market that’s my go-to when I need a couple of quick ingredients only accepts cash for small transactions. My plastic wasn’t going to help me in this situation.
My wallet was empty, but my husband had a couple bucks in his pocket, so dinner was saved. But the experience made me remember sometimes it really does pay to have some old-fashioned currency on hand. Not all Americans agree cash is still king. About a third of people in the U.S. never or rarely carry cash, and 38% percent said they would go completely cashless if they could, a 2017 ING International survey found.
These days, you can use cards or mobile payments for everything, from taxis to paying the babysitter, meaning it’s easier than ever to live without cash. At some stores — such as Amazon’s brick-and-mortar bookshops — paying with cash isn’t even an option. But a fully cashless society isn’t here just yet, and there are still some good excuses for keeping a few bills tucked in your wallet. Here are 11 reasons why you might want to pay with cash — or at least keep some on hand.
1. It’s accepted (almost) everywhere
Unlike your American Express or Discover Card, cash is accepted almost everywhere. Most merchants in the U.S. will happily take your greenbacks for payments, even as they refuse to run your credit or debit cards for smaller purchases. Of course, the flip side of the cash-only (or cash-preferred) business is the one that requires you to pay with a card. That’s a perfectly legal practice, and one that’s common in certain industries. So it’s smart to carry both cash and plastic.
Next: When the power’s out, your credit card won’t help you.