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popky

Whole Foods here has stopped accepting cash. Credit cards or Apple Pay/google pay only. 

Part of this is due to the virus, but this is the way businesses have been trying to go for awhile. Most airlines stopped accepting cash onboard a couple of years ago, and I don’t think anyone really noticed. 

Also, unemployment benefits are now put on a Visa debit card—something that also happened before this crisis and is becoming standard practice in many states. No checks to cash. The only problem is you can’t pay your rent with a Visa card, so we had to go to the bank to figure out how to get the $ from the Visa card to my daughter’s bank account. But it does allow those without bank accounts to go buy groceries and supplies very easily.
 

This is happening with other forms of govt assistance as well.  I did a research project for a fintech client a couple of years ago and we uncovered this pervasive trend away from cash and checks for government payments. 

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Alan Weiss

How does this affect poor people who have no credit? How does it affect people who aren't responsible with credit and should be paying cash? I think this is discriminatory and it has less to do with public health than corporate profits. Prices will have to reflect the increased credit card processing fees, as well.

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Kevin Berchelmann

First, I have no dog in this hunt. I don't care a ton whether we can/cannot use cash. Seems odd to me to ban cash, but I can live either way. It will be interesting to see this play out; those without direct access to banks and credit are largely the already-under-served people in our society, and the majority of those are people of color.

Add to that banking fees in general are regressive. Probably why many cities and states (LA, NYC, SF, DC, NJ, etc,) are making efforts to ban the cashless advance.

Looks more like a financial incentive than a hygiene move, as Alan mentioned. Visa still offers restaurants $10,000 to go cashless.

But that's just me...

KB

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Alan Weiss

There are going to be a lot of "health" reasons that are actually based in greed coming ahead. Self-serve gas stations are not for my benefit or safety, they are for greed in not paying attendants. The various service charges and fees on every hotel bill are about greed, not service, and not regulations.

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popky

The payment cards for govt programs are all debit, not credit. The reasons are to combat the security issues with checks, mailing payments, etc., and because recipients don't need to have checking accounts or go to expensive check cashing services to access their money.

 A debit card is like cash, in that you can't spend more than the funds available on your card. However, just like cash, if you lose the card, you're out of luck.

None of this has anything to do with the virus. This was all in progress before--it's just been sped up now. When I did this research in 2018, I was amazed at how widespread this is becoming. The US military also uses debit cards extensively. They've eliminated cash at many base stores, on Navy ships,  and for troops deployed in the field--all of which makes sense to me.

 

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Linda Henman

Sweden is now almost entirely cashless. I quit converting cash several years ago when I tried to buy two cups of coffee with cash, and the place wouldn't accept it. I suspect in Sweden, it's the government's way of keep track of things more closely. Hard to have cash deals if no one can spend the cash. 

I shop at an AFB and usually use a credit card for large purchases but haven't had any trouble using cash to buy food in the food court. And I haven't seen signs that they won't take cash.

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Alan Weiss

I still think it's an intrusion to demand that everyone have a debit card, and it's discriminatory. That also demands that everyone the a bank account. And a bank. And their personal details known by that bank. 

And for the 450,000th time, I don't care what a country that fit's into the back of my Rolls does, it has no relevance for the US, so let's knock off that practice, just as we need to quit saying "my cousin's housekeeper's son is an immunologist and he says that the pandemic will kill 37 million people."

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ColleenFrancis

Here is a US example Alan,

Miami Dade County is talking about requiring cashless payments and it's not just debit cards but systems like applepay.  Most of the spots on the beach already take them and insist on it for payment during this lockdown, and the first draft of our "opening plan" requires restaurants to be with 100% touchless / cashless payment.

I don't know if it will stick, but that's what was announced at the commission meeting last week.

 

 

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patrickdaly
10 hours ago, Alan Weiss said:

And Europe was using credit card machines at tables where that was and is minimally used in the US, and of course, Europe still uses the metric system.

I'm sorry, but the belief that every surface you touch is potentially dangerous is just over-the-top. Remember the lawyers I quote who say, "Just don't open the business tomorrow and you'll be absolutely safe"? Well, if we want to be totally protected, we should just stay home and seal the doors and windows. Even if you somehow managed to feed yourself, what kind of life is that? 

No, I think it is correct to say that Europe uses the metric system that everyone else has followed, and America uses a derivation if the Imperial system, or whatever it was called, that nobody else uses.

The rest of what you said, really, I don’t know what that is about, because that is not the approach anywhere in Europe.

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Alan Weiss

My continuing point, at the risk of xenophobia, which has never bothered me, is that whatever happens in small countries is not relevant to the US. We don't use systems the rest of the world does because we don't have to. But every air traffic controller in the world is speaking English.

I continue to also point out that the paranoid insistence on plastic is of disproportionate discrimination to the poor people in our society. The liberals are liberal only to a certain point.

And I continue to point out that we're absolutely paranoid about the illness. We are cutting off limbs because the patient has acne. Everyone is running scared. Not one of the early death projections is even close to reality. 

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popky
4 hours ago, Linda Henman said:

I shop at an AFB and usually use a credit card for large purchases but haven't had any trouble using cash to buy food in the food court. And I haven't seen signs that they won't take cash.

The bases that only take debit/credit cards are overseas, such as those in war zones, as well as air craft carriers and submarines. No good reason I can see to exchange cash on a submarine if you don't have to.

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patrickdaly

The rest of the world is not a small country, and plays soccer. 
America has about 4% of the world’s population and, despite a larger GDP than ever, an ever diminishing share of world GDP. Remember the book Facfulness? The rest of the world has come on leaps and bounds in the last few decades.  That is a trend that is not easy to change.

English? I think it is in the name where that comes from and the Brits had made that global before America had even thought of itself.

On the illness, I think I do have to agree with you though. I read that there was a novel virus flu pandemic in 1957-58 that killed somewhere between 1 and 2 million people worldwide. It originated in China, decimated Hong Kong and Singapore, killed 70,000 in the US, caused mayhem in UK and resulted in schools being closed in Ireland and nobody even remembers it!
I asked my Dad, who was born in 1942, and he has no recollection!
We do seem to be getting our knickers in an awful twist with this one, and on an individual level it is terribly tragic, but in a historical sense it is probably not such a big deal. 
 

 

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scottsimmonds

For some reason it was important 3 months ago that I sign everytime I used my credit card for more than $20.  I bought $300 of groceries yesterday.  No signature.

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Alan Weiss

I'm not arguing about the utility of not using cash, I'm arguing (as usual) about the universal, blind application of techniques and ideas that don't merit blanket application and are discriminatory. My son is fond of saying, "Dad, you live in another world now." He's wrong, I understand poverty and need as well as ever. But sometimes the conversations here seem to be focused on first world problems.

Patrick, even after 800 years of British oppression, a great deal of the pre-WWII world spoke French, not English, Portuguese and Spanish, as the colonialist powers had been in control. It was the victory in WWII, impossible without the US on both fronts, when Britain was its last gasp and Churchill realized he had no more resources, when colonialism and imperialism were set in permanent decline, that English took over. That's because of American rebuilding efforts around the globe and American culture (for better or for worse). 

We should have less of the world's GDP, I would hope, as the rest of the world enjoys better standards of living. But it seems hard not to understand: Lessons from homogenous nation/states, be they Korea, Japan, Denmark, Sweden, or Saudi Arabia, do not have the ability to serve as templates for heterogenous multi-nation states like the US, which is the largest of all. (China and India are busy trying to eliminate their minority populations.)

We have a larger GDP than ever because our economic structure is so powerful. It's not a competition. We have to learn our own lessons because no one has ever driven a car like this. We learn them pretty well, though we occasionally crash. I've been to well over 60 countries. Believe me, I'd never live in Sweden and most people here wouldn't want to, either!

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Roberta Matuson

In MA, cashless only transactions are illegal for the very reasons Alan cites. At least this was the case before the pandemic hit. It’s illegal in Philadelphia as well.

Restaurant chains like Sweet Greens were cashless at all their restaurants and a couple of years ago, changed their policy. 

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Matthew Colley
1 hour ago, Alan Weiss said:

Patrick, even after 800 years of British oppression, a great deal of the pre-WWII world spoke French, not English, Portuguese and Spanish, as the colonialist powers had been in control. It was the victory in WWII, impossible without the US on both fronts, when Britain was its last gasp and Churchill realized he had no more resources, when colonialism and imperialism were set in permanent decline, that English took over. That's because of American rebuilding efforts around the globe and American culture (for better or for worse). 

Hi Alan

I wasn't sure of the point you were making here. The English, French and Spanish languages spread with their empire building attempts across the globe. The English language spread across the globe with the British empire. WWII was a major cause of the subsequent growth of the USA. It was one of the factors that allowed the US dollar to become the worlds reserve currency from the British pound.  This created substantial long term economic benefits for the USA. The USA also got their legal system and property rights from the UK which is a great platform to build prosperity.

You could argue the British Empire partially morphed into the American Empire? Is that somewhat fair?  I don't want to have an argument American exceptionalism, that is not my intention. 

On the point of cash. It is a great source of top down control. It someone does not comply, shut down their bank account. Some bank accounts are linked to a social credit score in China. Removing cash completely seems like a loss of freedom.

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Alan Weiss

Matthew, I hate the term "exceptionalism." My point is that English may have originated elsewhere, but it's embrace into today's ubiquity (cab drivers in Kuala Lumpur or beauticians in Guayaquil) is strictly American-driven. The Brits exhausted themselves, albeit heroically, in the war. That was it.

Was the Magna Carta the precursor to the American Constitution. I don't think so.

My point about cash vs. plastic is the inequities faced by those people who are truly at the bottom of the ladder. 

Don't worry, I'm never sure what point I'm making, but something always emerges. Like the kid who said, "Well, there must be a pony here somewhere!"

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Matthew Colley

Alan

I showed your post to Jacob Rees-Mogg in the UK, he almost fell off his Penny Farthing!

The people writing the Declaration of Independence used the Magna Carta as justification for their actions. 

Jefferson argued that George III, like King John several centuries earlier had violated the trust of the people.

You could argue the success of the Declaration of Independence was justified on the barons' success in forcing John to issue the Magna Carta and rights contained within it. 

Do you really think Americans did more to spread the English language in India, Pakistan and China than the British? I find that surprising. Perhaps after Google and Youtube, but I suspect you would suggest it started earlier then that. I would suggest the English language became the lingua franca because of the British empire and was cemented prior to WW2.

This is a fun thing to discuss on a Saturday. I love the USA and its people. Hopefully we don't take it too seriously on this forum, i am not trying to be political. 

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Richard Citrin

Isn't there a red flag lying around somewhere?

 

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Matthew Colley

Really? My apologies.

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gpatterson

Signatures on credit card charges were required by merchants to reduce their risk on people disputing a charge as not theirs.   If the merchant had a signature frat time of charge, it was very hard to get your money back.  No signature in a dispute the customer wins. 

Today the merchant just takes the risk of disputes. 

 

 

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Alan Weiss

Gary, good to see you gain.

Matthew, no apologies necessary, I love these discussions. Who on earth is Jacob Rees-Mogg, some ultimate referee??!!

What I'm saying is not about the early dissemination of the English language, I'm talking about its omnipresence in the modern world. 

The Magna Carta left the King on the throne and neither side kept to its promises and I think the Pope, of all people, eventually nullified the whole Megillah. I don't think that's a blueprint for American independence. 

The beauty of the red flag is that only I can throw it, you're doing just fine! I'm in an exceptionally good mood, even for me.

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Linda Henman

I didn't mean to imply that we should take a lesson from Sweden. I hate the idea of going to a cashless society.

I wouldn't want to live there either, but I go there every year because some of the people I love live there. So,  their practices affect me in small but irritating ways.

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Matthew Colley
1 hour ago, Alan Weiss said:

Gary, good to see you gain.

Matthew, no apologies necessary, I love these discussions. Who on earth is Jacob Rees-Mogg, some ultimate referee??!!

What I'm saying is not about the early dissemination of the English language, I'm talking about its omnipresence in the modern world. 

The Magna Carta left the King on the throne and neither side kept to its promises and I think the Pope, of all people, eventually nullified the whole Megillah. I don't think that's a blueprint for American independence. 

The beauty of the red flag is that only I can throw it, you're doing just fine! I'm in an exceptionally good mood, even for me.

Thanks Alan

I was trying and failing to be funny regarding Jacob Rees-Mogg. He is a British MP that speaks like he is stuck in the 1920s.

He goes on and on about constitutional law, like I was. My joke did not work. His speeches can be amusing to watch.

On a separate note he is an expert on the history of the papacy. He talks about it often at PMQ's.

 

[edit: I removed the video, because I'm not sure posting links is allowed]

 

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Alan Weiss

Satire needs to be relevant!!

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