Sunday, October 30, 2011

Look Mom, No Cards!

At the beginning of September I decided I wanted to try not to use my credit cards for point-of-purchase payments. I don’t have a debit card, so this meant paying mostly with cash. I had a handful of credit card purchases in September, but this month, there were hardly any. I went shopping less than ten times this month and paid in cash. I used my credit cards mainly at the gasoline pump. I also used them to buy postage, both online and at the post office.

I made only one online purchase this month, and I paid for it with a PayPal balance that came from a customer who made an online purchase from me. I am not a big fan of PayPal in its current form but I have to admit it is a very efficient system when used this way.

The latest quarterly reports from the credit card companies show a marked softness in transaction volume. Part of the reason is that people are making fewer shopping trips to save fuel. But part of it must also be that some shoppers are paying in cash more often. With banks planning substantial increases in fees for using debit and credit cards and transaction fees for checks, cash is showing a new advantage in transactional efficiency.