Pros and cons of a cashless society

Posted at 2:41 PM, Nov 29, 2018

The phrase “cash is king” is dwindling as more stores go cashless. But is moving towards a cashless society a good or bad thing?

Meet the new cash register: an iPad.

At Bonobos, a men’s clothing retailer, their point of sales is electronic. Store manager Sara Sigrist says during the holidays, it's a life saver with shoppers.

"They don't have time to wait," she says.

A time saver is a plus and so is safety. Sigrist says she feel safer not having cash in the store. 

According to an Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) crime report, nearly 40,000 burglaries happened at retail stores in 2014.

"Our point of sales is each of our terminals rather than one location, like with a safe, with a bunch of money, with cash or coinage just to make change for people,” Sigrist says. “That's completely eliminated for us, so that’s really nice. There is no smash and grab."

Time is money, Sigrist says. By only taking card, it saves them time at the end of the day from having to count cash.

"Opening and closing, we are probably saving maybe up to 30 minutes a day,” she says.

Bonobos is not the only store going cashless. Chain restaurants like Tender Greens are too. Airlines like United and Delta don't take cash on flights anymore, and even fitness studios are joining in by only accepting cards.

But most Americans aren't even using cash. Only a quarter of all Americans paid with cash at retail stores back in 2016, and the trend keeps growing.

But here's the problem: cashless hurts some low-income people and people with bad credit. Or what if you've maxed out your credit cards?

So, if cash is the only way you can or like to pay, there are ways to get around this: get a pre-paid credit card at places like Walmart, Target or grocery stores that sell American Express gift cards to load cash onto.

Sigrist says just to be clear, cash is not dead

"Every now and then, we will see someone with cash, but it's usually not an issue," she says.