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Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Is cash becoming obsolete?

   There was a time in the not too distant past when I would go to the bank ATM machine a couple times a week to get cash.  I could have made these trips less frequent by taking out larger amounts but somehow I almost always pulled out $20 or $40.  One month I noticed that my bank charged me for too many withdrawals of my own money.  It caused me to rethink how I used cash.  With bill paying online and direct deposit going to the bank and writing checks became outdated.  A few years ago debit card payments even surpassed the number of checks written.  It is a considerable savings to banks to go electronic and stop manually handling checks. The Federal Reserve three years ago consolidated its check processing system to eliminate most of the regional check processing facilities.  How many of you knew that this was a job of the Federal Reserve?
   The next time you go into Baltimore right before you turn off of 395 onto Conway on your right you will see behind the iron gate one of these facilities of the Federal Reserve pictured above.

    I thought it would be interesting to see if I could go one week without using any cash.  That was no problem with 2 exceptions.  The first was to pay for tomatoes at the farmers market at the East Columbia Library and the second at a parking meter in Baltimore.   Even these two instances of using cash are disappearing.  Many of the parking meters in Baltimore are now able to take credit cards and a week ago when I went out to Larriland to pick berries they had a credit card machine out in the fields.  Wireless credit card machines are becoming more common.

      So for the week I used $9.50 in cash--a small percentage to the total amount I spent last week.  The rest of my purchases were by credit card.  I know this maybe trouble for people who over spend and build up large credit card bills.  I have always been one of those lousy credit card users who pay off their bill each month.  For those with less discipline debit cards or preloaded cards (or maybe cash!) are the answer.

One more advantage of not using cash is the germs on money.  Read this report from ABC News. 

P.S. 1

 Sad news from the AP:

Andy Griffith, who made homespun Southern wisdom his trademark as the wise sheriff in "The Andy Griffith Show" and the rumpled defense lawyer in "Matlock," died Tuesday. He was 86.
Griffith died about 7 a.m. at his coastal home, Dare County Sheriff Doug Doughtie said in a statement.

"Mr. Griffith passed away this morning at his home peacefully and has been laid to rest on his beloved Roanoke Island," Doughtie told The Associated Press, reading from a family statement.

Who could ever forget the theme song to his show.

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