Have you ever really thought about the advantages of debit cards over cash? Not me… at least that much up until a year or so ago. That was until an un-announced visit from the mothership gang. They always drop in on me like that without warning. Anyway they brought up a few interesting points that kind of got me thinking.
One of the first points they made was that debit cards are expensive to use. After all Banks have all sorts of charges related to using them that they ding you with. In some cases those charges can be as much as thirty dollars a month or more. That's $360. a year! I had to agree that's a lot of cheap wine. Multiply that by ten years and you have $3500.!!! Yikes!
Then they went on to point out that debit cards are far slower than cash. With cash you hand them the money they give you the change, sometimes automatically and away you go. The other "debit stiff" at the next till will still be punching in his code and you will be well on your way. I have actually done that a few times myself.
Next they brought up the fact that cash always works! If the debit machine is down you are hooped! I have been there before myself and it is a real pain. Or if you card fails for some reason you are also hooped. I have been there also… holding up the line while I try swiping my card ten times to get it to finally read!! Maybe it was my card or maybe it was their machine either way it is a real headache.
Safety was another issue they talked about. If someone stole your card and then got your code they could clean out your whole bank account!! We know this has happened before. With cash they would only get what you had on hand. They also noted that people in New York have been shot by robbers for not having cash on them. Actually I had read that myself online somewhere. In fact supposedly it is now recommended to carry at least some cash when there. That way if you do get robbed you can quickly hand the junkie a few bucks and away they will go. Not having cash just makes them more agitated and frustrated… maybe enough to shoot you. Not worth it if you value your life or the lives of those with you. Thus another great reason to use cash! Yes I could see their point there for sure.
They also pointed out that cards are inconvenient which I had to agree with as I remember times I needed cash and could not find a machine anywhere! I missed a screaming deal on a vintage car I stumbled across once because I did not have cash with me and could not find a machine in time. Johnny on the Ball right behind me scooped the deal while I was off tracking down a "cash cow" to milk or should I say get milked out of another buck fifty. By the time I got back Johnny was backing out the driveway and grinning ear to ear. He obviously made a quick few grand off that deal. The nice thing about cash is that everyone will take it no matter where you are in the country and whether they have a debit machine or not!
They went on to say that the idea behind debit cards was so someone could not rob you. Which was a good point but then they asked me if I knew anyone who had been robbed at gun or knife point. Nope and since then have asked endless numbers of people if they had ever been robbed or knew anybody that had been robbed. So far no one has said yes. The truth is they said was that everyone was getting robbed every month with service charges. Good point I thought. In the last ten years at $360 a year that works out to $3600 just for me alone. Multiply that by millions of other people and the numbers get big fast. Hell I could have afforded to get robbed a few times and would have still broken even!! In fact I could have even gave every street bum a toonie for what I would have saved in service charges each day. I would have felt like I was rich.
They also told me that it is far easier to manage your money when you are dealing with cash. Your pile is tangible and in your pocket. I've know that for years since it is always harder to part with cash than it is to use your debit card. Not unlike using credit cards. Which is why I guess most big retailers have their own cards now after all you don't get big by being stupid. They also said that debit cards were like having very expensive portable piggy banks that dinged you every time you pulled out some cash.
So using cash is far cheaper...,far faster..., far more convenient..., far safer..., far more fun and impressive…, could even save your life..., and is easier to manage they went on to say.
When I asked why hell do we all use debit cards then when they have so many disadvantages? Their response was that it is all because of smart marketing on the part of the banks. They then asked me how would you like to get a few cents on every transaction that took place in the electronic world? Well that was a no brainer. They also pointed out that humans have herd mentality and often will automatically follow what others are doing even when it is against all logic.
They later went on to say that most people are not as much the independent thinkers that they like to think they are. Banks know that, which is why they pushed their cards so much. The same thing with credit cards they told me. Which of course pretty well led to the innovation of "identity theft" on a grander scale. Well I was aware of the chaos that can cause. I knew a highly respectable manager in a corporate position was drug away from his office in hand cuffs because someone stole his identity. Even though he reported his wallet stolen or lost to the authorities already. The finders or thieves used it to get a line of credit which they drained and then rented three or four cars which they stole and likely sold for parts.
According to the mothership, debit cards create a down pour of income into bank coffers, at the expense of the user, and all one drop at a time. Anyway they started to go on some more but I just tuned them out. I get tired of their babbling on and on at times. Not only that but they some times act like I am such a sucker and besides I like my debit card… I think. Not only that but I get tired of them laughing at me all the time and calling me Ben Dover when that's not my name.