A lot of the more seasoned and experienced personal finance gurus have preached on the benefits of using cash over debit or credit, and the dangers of a credit card. While I agree with them on some levels, I definitely have a preference. I prefer to use plastic over cash. I think debit and credit have a bad reputation, although I do understand the dangers of using a card when you’re not properly educated on how to use it. I choose plastic over cash for several reasons:
- I never carry cash on me: Obviously this is a result of preferring plastic over cash in the first place, but it seems like I never have cash on me. This past Friday, I went to my sister’s graduation and parking was $10. Obviously, the parking attendants didn’t accept Visa or Mastercard, but thankfully my husband had cash in his wallet.
- Cash is easy to lose: I’ve lost a couple of dollars before, and have thankfully found them in recently washed laundry. I’ve also been fortunate enough to find money on the ground and around the way. I found a $20 bill getting on the bus one morning, and found a $100 bill when I was depositing money into an ATM. I obviously felt bad for the people who lost it (although it was finders keepers at the time), and couldn’t deal with losing cash.
- If you lose your card, you can get your money back: If you lose your cash, it’s more than likely gone, as in the cases before. I had no one to return it to and no one who claimed it. If you lose your debit or credit card, and a good citizen finds it, they can get in touch with you (if you just left) or contact your bank and tell them your card was left behind. Or, if your card was stolen, and find charges that you didn’t make, your bank can reverse the unauthorized transactions and you can get your money back.
- You know exactly where your money went with plastic: Sure, it may be easier to use your debit or credit card because you don’t actually see the money, it’s hard to remember what you spent your cash unless you keep excruciatingly detailed records every time you purchase something. It can be hard to remember where your money went. With plastic, you get a monthly statement showing you where you made your transactions and how much they cost. You can see them even sooner if you have online banking.
- You can get rewards: When you spend your cash somewhere, you may get a thank you, and whatever you bought, but if you use your credit card or debit card, you can get rewarded for it. Some credit card companies offer points redeemable for gift cards or experiences, airline miles for travel, hotel stays, or even cash back.
Cash has its advantages. Not everyone accepts plastic yet, like some burger joints and parking lots. It’s also good for ensuring you’re spending efficiently. I still like my plastic being more portable and more accessible. What’s your preference?