Social Question

Blackberry's avatar

Do you use cash or cards more? Is one better than the other assuming there's no fees to use the card?

Asked by Blackberry (31712points) June 15th, 2012

When I mean card, I don’t mean a credit card, I’m referring to any card that’s connected to your actual bank account.

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26 Answers

Jaxk's avatar

Cash is more controllable. When your pocket is empty you stop spending. A card doesn’t give you that instant feedback. You can run up a bigger bill than you realize or empty your bank account before you know it. I use cash whenever possible.

nikipedia's avatar

I use a card wherever I can; it gives me 1% back on everything and 5% back on some stuff. Meanwhile I can keep most of my cash in my savings account, which also pays me 1% interest. I don’t make enough money for all of these small percents to add up to much, but maybe someday :)

ragingloli's avatar

Cash.
I only use my debit card at the ATM or when buying train tickets.

LuckyGuy's avatar

I use cash for purchases of less than $20. It allows the store owner to avoid paying transaction charges and fees on small purchases. I want the retailer to stay in business.

On that $20 purchase I will get 20 cents back if I use the card. But the small retailer will pay as much as $1.00. I consider my $0.20 a donation to help the little guys survive.

How often do I do this? About once or twice a week. How much does it cost me in lost cash back at the end of the year? $10. I saved retailers $100+ and avoided putting my credit card info “out there” 75 times. That’s Priceless.

Blackberry's avatar

You should change your name from Lucky Guy to Smart Guy.

LuckyGuy's avatar

@Blackberry Thanks. I also take out $400 at a time when I use the ATM at the bank. I usually carry about $60 -100 in my wallet. That $400 cash will last me for months. How much did I lose in interest.by doing that? At current rates of 0.1% that comes to 40 cents for a year. How much time and gasoline did I save by having the cash and not needing to go to the ATM or look for a bank 25 times? Priceless.

Whether I have $10 or $1000 in my wallet, my conservative spending habits remain the same.

YARNLADY's avatar

We use our credit card almost exclusively. I do carry around $20 in my purse for some small purchases. We earn thousands of points every month.

We took our family of four adults and two children to Disneyland last month and stayed in hotels for seven nights entirely free due to points on the cards. Each hotel gave us a courtesy upgrade on the room, so three nights were in a one bedroom, with separate living room and sofa bed, and four nights were in a two bedroom with a separate living room and sofa bed. Breakfast was free for the whole family every morning.

To be fair, I should point out that three of those nights were due to bonus points we were given when we opened a new credit card account a few months ago for the express purpose of using the points for free rooms.

gorillapaws's avatar

I like the protections the card offers, and having a monthly statement of my spending habits without having to keep track and enter receipts is very handy for me. Also, I feel safer about ever getting mugged, and know that if a company tries to pull some shenanigans, I can contest it. My parents tried to back out of a hotel reservation several days in advance when a hurricane was passing through the beach. The hotel refused the refund since there wasn’t a mandatory evacuation, so my parents called Visa and got their money back. There’s a good bit of piece of mind that comes with using my card, not to mention the rewards points.

dontmindme's avatar

I use both cash and debit card associated with my checking account. I also write checks. I only spend what cash I have on hand or in my checking account. Pretty simple if you keep track of your account.

augustlan's avatar

I use my debit card almost exclusively. It’s quick and easy, very convenient, has protections that cash purchases don’t have and I don’t have to worry about going to the ATM very often. I write maybe 3 checks a month, for bills that can’t be paid using my bank’s online bill pay service.

I spend the same, whether it’s cash or card.

flutherother's avatar

I use cash for anything under £20 and a debit card for more expensive items and anything bought online. I have a credit card but I never use it. Cash is convenient but the weight of change tends to build up in my pockets so I put coins in a charity collection tin from time to time.

LuckyGuy's avatar

@Blackberry I am not opposed to using cards. I do – for purchases above $20. As people mentioned, there are certain protections the card offers But, for purchases less than $20, I slap cash down and keep the receipt in the receipt drawer at home.
I figure every time you give your card to a vendor, you are increasing your chances of having it misused. The fewer places that have your numbers, the better.
By the way, I rarely use my card at craft shows, farm markets and festivals for 2 reasons. 1) They often outsource their finances and their security might not be as high as a brick and mortar or established online store that has been around for years.
2) Many vendors are willing to discount if you use cash – and the discount is well more than the “cash back” I would get from the bank.

And here is a final reason not to use cards so often:
—-> I don’t want to give any of my money to these guys. They have enough!

jrpowell's avatar

When I put in my monthly check I pull out 300 in cash. That is my smokes/beer/food money and I usually have some leftover.

I eat a lot of bread and pasta.

hearkat's avatar

We’ve been using our debit card almost exclusively. My fiancé often has no cash on him!

But lately, as we’ve been consciously choosing to support small local businesses, especially local farms, I’ve been considering that we should use cash to save the merchant those stinky vendor fees.

OpryLeigh's avatar

I prefer to always have cash on me and pay that way where possible.

blueiiznh's avatar

Debit card. I rarely carry cash.
I can keep track of my spending habits much better that way. I track it and categorize it with mint.com

bookish1's avatar

Back home, I use my debit card almost exclusively. I have to stick to a tight budget and resist impulse buys in an area with a lot of farmer’s markets, thrift stores, etc., and so I find that I am actually much wiser with my money if I don’t have cash in my pocket! Also, there are LOTS of panhandlers in my town and I’d rather be honest with them when I tell them I’m not carrying any cash.

Jaxk's avatar

Kudo’s to all of you that pay cash to support your local businesses. I can assure you it makes a big difference.

Paradox25's avatar

I try to use cash, but I only carry so much with me so I still use my card alot for bigger purchases. I don’t use credit cards at all since I’d rather pay the actual price of a product, not more.

Dutchess_III's avatar

We have a checking account that earns interest, but part of that deal is we have to have 12 card debit charges per cycle. So on payday we use the hell out of the card for all kinds of piddly stuff. Then we revert to cash. It’s too too too easy to overspend using a card.

downtide's avatar

I use cash for anything under £10 and for everything else I use my debit card. I rarely carry more than £40 cash with me.

I also have a second account with a debit card that I use exclusively for online purchases. This account usually has no more than £50 in it though I will transfer more if I need to make a bigger purchase. This means that I never need to use my main debit card online so if the card details are stolen, my main account is safe.

LuckyGuy's avatar

@Dutchess_III So you make 12 piddly purchases using the card? Why not use it for a bigger purchase so the vendor is not hit with charges for nonsense. They usually pay a fixed transaction fee plus a percentage of the sale. That fee can be a significant part of the shop keeper’s profit.

Dutchess_III's avatar

I know how it works @LuckyGuy, but they aren’t complaining. When I say “piddly” it’s usually around $5.00 or so, not pennies.

nikipedia's avatar

@LuckyGuy, what do you think about using cards for small purchases at large chains? For instance, if I get a coke from 7–11, does the transaction fee affect the franchise owner in a negative way, or is it eaten by the larger corporation? (I’m assuming 7–11s are franchised like that? I don’t know much about how businesses work.)

Neizvestnaya's avatar

I use my debit card almost exclusively. I don’t use credit cards at all and carrying cash feels like an open invitation to buy stuff I don’t really need.

Dutchess_III's avatar

It’s a per-transaction fee. I forget how it works, but it’s like $.25 per transaction PLUS a percentage of the total of the transaction, if I remember correctly. I used to have a sign up at my shop that said, “Please pay cash or check for purchases under $15.00.” You lose your butt on anything less.

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