Letter: Demand acceptance of cash

Published 8:30 pm Friday, June 28, 2024

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Many people still rely heavily on cash for their purchases. They are being penalized by cashless vendors. The switch to credit/debit cards penalizes many individuals that can least afford new fees being charged for using currency. The elderly, the poor, and the young all rely on our monitory cash system because of its simplicity; it makes budgeting easier. When you have X number of bills in your wallet; the visual stimulus alone shows the user whether they have remained in their budget, or if they must be more diligent with their remaining funds. With credit/debit cards, the person can easily lose track of how much money was spent. Many expenditures do not come with receipts, especially for small amounts. By month end, these small purchases, plus fees, can add up to significant amounts. The debit/credit card user does not associate these small sums to anything important, until their bank statement arrives. By that time, it’s too late to rectify the problem.

Debt from credit card purchases is already at an all-time high as society tries to keep up with the rising cost of living. People will often resort to using credit until they have exhausted their credit limit. This tends to exasperate their problems, especially if an emergency later arrives, or additional income does not materialize.

When cash is not accepted, individuals using cash are directed to reverse ATMs. At the reverse ATM, after putting in their currency, a debit card is issued; but, not for the dollar amount submitted. Service fees are subtracted, which leaves that individual with a loss of $3.50 to $6, or more. Those on fixed incomes cannot afford these fees just to use their own money. Likewise, those who use debit cards, just for convenience, often pay fees, again reducing their available funds; and that just enriches credit companies. Businesses pay credit/debit companies service fees, often 4% or more of the purchase transaction. So, businesses/merchants have already raised their prices to the customer to cover those transaction fees.

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When you pay with cash, the supplier has already gained 4% on the sale, because it is a cash transaction and no credit/debit card company is involved. If any business/merchant then makes you pay another fee, just to use cash, then, they are double charging fees on your purchase. In fact, they owe you a 4% discount on the price when you pay in cash; because they have already raised their prices to cover the cost of credit/debit card transaction fees; and such fees are entirely avoided when you pay in cash.

Jonathan Alexander, executive director of Consumer Choice in Payment Coalition, a group of businesses and nonprofits that lobby for acceptance of cash, has stated that, Consumer Choice had to tell retailers that “cash” is U.S. currency that should be accepted. There are some states that are protecting citizens by banning cashless retail establishments. Minnesota should also ban cashless establishments. Contact your state representatives, demand acceptance of cash.

Catherine Sippel
Albert Lea