Just use cash. It is legal tender for all debts public and private. Read it, right on the bill you probably have on you right now!
UPDATE: There is an ass load of comments about "cash only". That's not the advocacy here. Use more cash, where it makes sense, and have an impact on the banks. That's it. This is not a "use cash only diary" --thanks!
We've all been reading the credit horror stories.
People closing their accounts seeing their FICA score change, impacting their other accounts. Contract terms rendered meaningless (and they probably were anyway). Interest rate hikes. Goofy payment schedule changes. You name it, the banks are doing it right now.
Because of my particular life situation, I've been using cash for most everything when I used to use a card... time to hit back!
Money is speech. It works either by having a lot of money and speaking loudly, or many smaller amounts of money speaking loudly. Using cash is a cost effective way to get our voices heard!
There are some good comments below. Let's list all the ways you use cash when you used to use cards, and don't forget to tell your merchant why.
[My first time on the Rec List --Thanks guys! The conversation is great, jump on in!]
In a nutshell, just start using cash for most things. When you do this, the banks don't collect their transaction fees and they are counting on those as part of their national "take back the profits" campaign.
You know those bankers really are suffering right now. With all the regulations, bailouts with pesky strings attached, big ass market losses and general consumer unease, they are struggling to meet their own lofty expectations. This kind of hurts and we really should feel for them.
Well, I don't.
Using cash is easy and it's fast. With cash you don't have to enter your PIN. There are no worries about crappy card readers either. These days, transaction speed is high too. Most registers compute change, making it all quick and easy for the cashier.
When you use cash, you absolutely, positively have no worries about being able to complete your transaction. Network outages are no problem. That sneaky double dip from your insurance company isn't an issue either. Cash simply works, and it works the same way every single time. Cash is consistent.
Cash is cheaper too. Everything that gets processed electronically ends up with a 3 percent or so fee going directly to the bank, supposedly to cover the cost of handling financial transactions electronically. Given all the benefits supposedly associated with electronic transactions for all parties involved, one would think they would be paying us to do it!
Using cash can put more money in your pocket. All the bank fees tend to add up. Transaction fees run maybe $30 per thousand spent. ATM fees often run much higher, with people sometimes paying $3 on $20 dollars withdrawn. Overdraft fees average $30, and there are other fees.
Increasing your use of cash can easily put $50 to $100 back in your pocket each month. That's a lot of money that would otherwise end up at the banks! I know I can put that amount to good use, can't you?
This is a direct, tangible savings! You can put it in a jar and treat yourself, instead of paying it to big financial institution, who will spend it lobbying to screw you over.
Cash is private! We leave lots of little electronic records around. Those include our purchase history. When you use cash, those records don't exist!
The only real downside to cash is suffering the loss of it. Nothing to be done there. Either you have it, or you don't, but I think that's a small risk to take, given all the other increasingly onerous electronic arrangements taking shape right now.
Use cash. Each month, based on your electronic transaction history, factor out those things that could be done with cash and obtain that amount from your bank. For those things where electronic transactions make sense, like online purchases, continue to do those. The impact will still be very substantial, whether or not cash is used for all purchases. Even smaller percentages of change will be noticed and that is the point!
The same over leveraged financial problems that cause a melt down with small percentage changes, also help make this kind of action effective and easy. If a high percentage of us shifted even a quarter of our purchases to cash, that would roll up to a serious number each month, directly impacting the banks.
It is completely possible to push back on these clowns. Do it!
When you do use cash, take a moment and let your merchant know why and encourage them to consider offering a small kick back for cash purchases. One percent would be fine, and still a heck of a deal for them compared to increasingly high merchant fees that go to their cost of doing business.
If they want, they can take that money and donate it to charity, or show their customer that they saved some small amount and why doing that matters given what the banks are doing.
The same small numbers that annoy us but turn into millions for them can work in reverse. If we all save that little bit with cash, they see it as the "loss" of millions of dollars of income.
Cash is king in an emergency too. When the power is out, computer is down, bank processor off line, those that are trying to pay with plastic are not getting anything. Those of us with cash can continue to exercise our buying power with few to no worries.
Cash is secure. If you've saved money, only to see it slowly drained away through fees, overdrafts, electronic transactions and other gaffes that impact your checking or credit connected savings account, consider saving some cash as well. When times get tough, you will have buying power and that might really matter.
It is not important to save huge amounts of cash. There is no return on that, of course, but there is no risk, other than theft. No risk, no reward! It's best to understand that when keeping cash. Given the many advantages cash has, saving some for use as a monthly buffer is not a bad idea, compared to that increasingly onerous and expensive revolving credit card.
Use cash. Tell your merchant why. Ask them to spread the word and make a difference.
UPDATE: From indycam:
Don't leave home without it !
Its everywhere you wanna be !
More stores accept cash than any other form of payment !
And remember , paying cash screws the credit card companies ,
will you not please do your part to end this dreaded scourge ?
Well said, love it!