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  1. #1
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    Default OT: A Cashless Society?

    There is much talk of the benefits of a cashless society. Currently in the U.S. people use a mix of cash, debit cards, credit cards, and cell phone apps. I personally do not (yet) use the last category but understand its appeal.

    In more and more municipal parking there are no more parking meters but instead signs with numbers that are used either with an app or a parking kiosk. With the app you can enter the numbers while sitting in your car and the cost will be deducted. It's usually a bit of a walk to the kiosk where you also enter the numbers but they accept cards and cash. No question which is more convenient for users.

    Many of us still pay by different methods depending on situation but that may not always be an option. I saw on a news piece that several high end restaurants are no longer accepting cash. That may be fine for them but other businesses think differently. A local coffee shop has a $10 minimum to use a card. There is a sign stating this at the counter. Many of the self-serve gas stations charge a few cents more to use a card. This is because of the fees they must pay the card companies.

    I have mixed feeling about this. Apps and cards are more convenient but many lower income people use cash because the prepaid cards cost money to reload and they haven't enough money to have a bank account. IMO the recent disaster in Puerto Rico is a warning about totally eliminating cash. Not only were the networks taken out but power loss was so widespread that almost no one could process credit cards. People had to pay cash and in the places where ATMs still worked there were huge waiting lines and often the cash ran out before everyone was served.

    I'm curious how others feel about this and which payment methods you prefer/use and whether you would be comfortable with TOTALLY eliminating cash.

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    Rote 360 from
    Sharon Pa, to pizzaborg, was a new toll road.

    They just changed it to "cashless", somehow they want to read your plate
    if you don't have "ez pass".

    Now, as of late the license plates around here are "snow covered" so I'm
    not sure who's at fault if you use the toll road, and the camera can't finger
    you with a bill.

    I just got my annual regristration bill for the truck, and they added a flyer how
    "Your unpaid toll fines can now result in your loosing your license"

    Toll roads are PRIVATE, and yet somehow they are now into the police system ?

    Tappity tap, and you bank account is all gone.*

    *"Latnium cedits" for the smart phone generation.....

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    Reads from bill- "This note is legal tender for all debts, public and private." I think when push comes to shove, they have to take it. Not that it matters, as I'm already almost cashless. When I get some, it's going under the mattress.

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    Quote Originally Posted by digger doug View Post
    Rote 360 from
    Sharon Pa, to pizzaborg, was a new toll road.

    They just changed it to "cashless", somehow they want to read your plate
    if you don't have "ez pass".

    Now, as of late the license plates around here are "snow covered" so I'm
    not sure who's at fault if you use the toll road, and the camera can't finger
    you with a bill.

    I just got my annual regristration bill for the truck, and they added a flyer how
    "Your unpaid toll fines can now result in your loosing your license"

    Toll roads are PRIVATE, and yet somehow they are now into the police system ?

    Tappity tap, and you bank account is all gone.*

    *"Latnium cedits" for the smart phone generation.....
    If you get an EZ Pass explore the option where you preload the account with a fixed amount ($20 minimum here) and manually add funds as needed. "Manually" might mean bank transfers must be approved by you. It means keeping an account balance but they can't drain your bank account. If the EZ pass account runs out you WILL trip an alarm and get pulled over so it requires attention.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Scottl View Post
    If you get an EZ Pass explore the option where you preload the account with a fixed amount ($20 minimum here) and manually add funds as needed. "Manually" might mean bank transfers must be approved by you. It means keeping an account balance but they can't drain your bank account. If the EZ pass account runs out you WILL trip an alarm and get pulled over so it requires attention.
    Thank you for the write up Scott, however as I pay the highest gas taxes in the nation, I will not be adding a tracking beacon to my vehicle any time soon.

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    I understand Europe is almost cashless now.
    Africa is mostly phone based.

    For my part I like cash.
    It makes it easier for me to not be stupid with money.

    But I'm old and used to that system.

    Hell I remember going to the bank and getting money from the teller for a trip because debit cards did not exist and no out of town checks were accepted.

    That said I'm getting used to online bill pay, though I still like to settle an account at the local plumber in person, with a check.

    The best part about electronics is all your expenditures show up in your balance, no having to cross reference a check book.

    Of course, cash is king for hookers and blow, I suppose that will be bitcoin soon enough.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Conrad Hoffman View Post
    Reads from bill- "This note is legal tender for all debts, public and private." I think when push comes to shove, they have to take it. Not that it matters, as I'm already almost cashless. When I get some, it's going under the mattress.
    I once tried to pay my rent with cash when I was in college (around 09). The lady in the apartment office gave me the worst you're a dumbass look I had ever received and told me that there was no she could accept cash. But to be fair I wouldn't want to be sitting in that office by myself on top of 10s of thousands of dollars in rent money. Also I believe in Illinois the DMV will accept cash for some things, but if it is a "tax" it has to be check or money order.

    I personally use my cards for "essentials" like fuel and groceries. I withdraw $300 dollars at a time for things like restaurants and frivolous purchases so I am well aware of how much I am spending on crap.

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    China - most of Asia by now - is ahead of us out of sheer necessity.

    Someone calculated that with their headcount there is not enough paper nor coinage metal on the whole PLANET to serve their needs for coin and currency - nor for that matter - disposable chopsticks or disposable plastic grocery bags - both outlawed in HKG some time ago already.

    What we have instead, and have come to love, is our "Octopus" card, readable from at least a modest distance, eg, doesn't have to go into a slot or such, nor even come out of purse or wallet, usually.

    Octopus card - Wikipedia

    Consumer - Octopus Hong Kong

    Phone apps can be - and are - integrated with the Octopus system.

    Asia is not alone. USA has a few, too:

    List of smart cards - Wikipedia

    It isn't just about materials availability, cost, and useful life with cashless/paperless.

    The cost of recording, POSTING, and reporting transactions back to banks, users, and merchants is important, small purchases most of all.

    The Banksters can pound sand for all I care, but cheaper, faster, more direct means saves tons of money for small merchants (7-Eleven, Circle-K) AND their customers. EG: small and medium purchases of stuff would have to cost more without it.

    Legacy "credit cards" still have significant "Merchant Fees", so that's why Chinese take-outs and the like apply a fee or minimum for them.

    Few others do. A CVS or HD, Lowes, or Yew Ess 7-Eleven doesn't have to care. THEY have a POS system and 'puters that the small restaurant does NOT have. Nor want the overhead of.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Conrad Hoffman View Post
    Reads from bill- "This note is legal tender for all debts, public and private." I think when push comes to shove, they have to take it. Not that it matters, as I'm already almost cashless. When I get some, it's going under the mattress.
    I'm not so sure. AFAIK any private entity can refuse cash or any other payment method they don't like. They may lose some business but I think there are no legal prohibitions. Some government entities already refuse cash and insist on payment by card or personal check.

    With those cashless parking spaces you either pay by app, walk to the kiosk, or risk a ticket and fine.

    Our transit system only accepts cash for above ground subway stops (plus a portion of one other route) and buses. For underground stops you can buy Charlie ticket at a vending machine with cash as you enter the station.

    Bus and Subway < Fares and Passes < MBTA - Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority

    With every passing year I see more signs that in future cash will be more expensive and far less convenient when dealing with government.

    PS: Monarchist, that Octopus Card sounds a lot like the Charlie Cards many of us use on the "T" (MBTA). You "tap" the card against a "target" and it is read. I keep mine in an outer pocket of my wallet and just touch the whole wallet to the pad. Because I'm not a frequent user I just reload the card periodically with cash at a kiosk.

    Edit: Just took a look at the Wikipedia article. The Charlie Card IS listed as one.

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    Quote Originally Posted by digger doug View Post
    Thank you for the write up Scott, however as I pay the highest gas taxes in the nation, I will not be adding a tracking beacon to my vehicle any time soon.
    Ehh, they do not need an EZ pass to track your car. If your onstar is not doing it, plate scanners are, and they are everywhere.

    you can keep your ezpass wrapped in tin foil if you like[not kidding]

    I think they are a net benefit


    I use cash and have almost no reward cards. I don't like to be tracked. I use debit for business and gas

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    Quote Originally Posted by Scottl View Post
    PS: Monarchist, that Octopus Card sounds a lot like the Charlie Cards many of us use on the "T" (MBTA). You "tap" the card against a "target" and it is read. I keep mine in an outer pocket of my wallet and just touch the whole wallet to the pad. Because I'm not a frequent user I just reload the card periodically with cash at a kiosk.

    Edit: Just took a look at the Wikipedia article. The Charlie Card IS listed as one.
    Korea had one before anyone else. "Upass".

    Hong Kong's was the world's SECOND to go into wide use public service.

    Fifty odd years earlier, I had worked on ones that were classified goods at the time.
    Biowarfare lab access and tracking as to whom might have been exposed, even months before a later-discovered compromise in sterility, etc.

    Transactionally, as said - we can't afford to use paper or metal any longer for high-volume, small value. Too many people. Too frequent their need.

    The biggest surprise - to ME, anyway - is that the "Octopus" technology and security architecture chosen are still working well and remain highly resistant to abuse 20+ years in.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Monarchist View Post
    Korea had one before anyone else. "Upass".

    Hong Kong's was the world's SECOND to go into wide use public service.

    Fifty odd years earlier, I had worked on ones that were classified goods at the time.
    Biowarfare lab access and tracking as to whom might have been exposed, even months before a later-discovered compromise in sterility, etc.

    Transactionally, as said - we can't afford to use paper or metal any longer for high-volume, small value. Too many people. Too frequent their need.

    The biggest surprise - to ME, anyway - is that the "Octopus" technology and security architecture chosen are still working well and remain highly resistant to abuse 20+ years in.
    Big question is how well would it work if there were major infrastructure problems due to some disaster. Can it run without networks on locally powered terminals?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Scottl View Post
    Big question is how well would it work if there were major infrastructure problems due to some disaster. Can it run without networks on locally powered terminals?
    Mostly it does just that. Store and forward. The MTR use faster tech in HKG not only because some journeys are but between two adjacent stations or now and then a change of mind, same-same station, adjacent in-out turnstiles, but because the sheer VOLUME needs to be rapidly cleared-on rather than held in a pipeline.

    Same-again with any of the worlds busier urban rail systems:

    The World's Busiest Subway Systems

    HKG is only 8th in ridership, though perhaps one of the best managed, most profitable, and cleanest. We love it!

    MTR - Wikipedia

    New Yorkers, and their one, similar volume? I don't think much "love" at all.

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    It's good for traditional exchanges, but nothibg haggles like a stack of hundreds.

    Sent from my SM-G930R4 using Tapatalk

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    Quote Originally Posted by Miguels244 View Post
    Of course, cash is king for hookers and blow, I suppose that will be bitcoin soon enough.
    Or gold bullion vending machines, I can see these taking off big time once governments get rid of cash.

    At least until they get banned as well.

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    Quote Originally Posted by gustafson View Post
    Ehh, they do not need an EZ pass to track your car. If your onstar is not doing it, plate scanners are, and they are everywhere.

    you can keep your ezpass wrapped in tin foil if you like[not kidding]

    I think they are a net benefit


    I use cash and have almost no reward cards. I don't like to be tracked. I use debit for business and gas
    If I get and use an EZPass card, keeping it in tinfoil won't work
    as you drive thru the toll booth now eh ?

    Plate grabber cameras don't function too well with 6" of snow
    blasted over the whole back of the car (even if you clean the
    car when you start out, driving for awhile will apply a large
    "Drift" on the back, covering everything)

    The point of the toll road being allowed to levee charges
    (for non payment) on your drivers license is absurd.

    If I don't pay my repair bill to the local garage, even if the
    owner applies a "garagemans lien", the police don't enforce it
    by pulling your license.

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    There's a parallel trend of everyone want to automatically debit your bank account for magazines, services, etc. etc. Some make it near impossible to stop (e.g the only way to stop is to call our hours-wait phone "service" line). Including, for example, both Sirius XM and the Wall St. Journal.

    Businesses like restaurants and merchants like credit and debit cards because it cuts down on theft. The state governments are pretty close to liking it to be sure they get their cut. The Federal government likes it because it shrinks the underground economy. Credit card companies and banks like it because they always get their cut. Might be as little as 1% on the credit side or banking fees on the debit side but it adds up in a $20 trillion economy. Snoops, from divorce attorneys to police, like it because it makes people easier to track.

    All of which is to say that electronic billing and payments, along with cameras and GPS-tracked phones most everywhere, mean less and less is private. Even insurance companies are/were apparently buying grocery "loyalty club" data to see who to charge more for health insurance. One more reason we should have universal coverage?

    Personally, I'm reluctantly resigned to this. The economies of using electronic billing and payment systems are such that we'll see less and less cash. And on a philosophical note, I'd like to think most of us can aspire to live so honest and transparent a life, in such a tolerant society, that we don't much care if others know where we've been or how we spend our time and money.

    As another point of how things are changing, I run kids' science programs for our Children's Museum of Discovery. These days that requires paying to have my fingerprints taken, followed by an FBI background check. On one hand, I fully understand it. On another, it's lamentable we've come to this.

    So, we have the trend toward everyone wanting to put a straw into my bank account -- and most every transaction and move being recorded for eternity. And, while apparently inevitable, it pisses me off a bit.

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    It's about Controlling the masses.

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    Quote Originally Posted by JS View Post
    It's about Controlling the masses.
    Most of the folks (credit card companies, merchants, etc.) pushing this don't so much want control, as either the savings of transaction costs or a fractional cut of the action.

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    Here in the uk the last couple of years i doubt i see more than £200 quid in cash, some a few customers pay me, others birthday gifts from grandparents etc. You really just don't need it or need to use it any more here.

    Compare that to only 18 years ago when i left school and damn near everyone commonly got paid in cash its a pretty rapid rate of change. I doubt the uk will go cashless any time soon, but as percentages go its gotta be dropping off fast. Over here card payment is the norm, cheques are nearly phased out and BACS and similar account to account transfers are the norm for business.

    Things like bitcoin are probably the future, governments hate them as do the banks, but its things like that that are untraceable that will become ever more so the new cash. Equally digital currencies always will be more volatile as to what there worth at any given moment, thats the trade off, when gold use to be properly sold and you could only move so many tons a hour markets had some natural stability, now thats milliseconds of computing things are going to be bumpy. It may be what finally colapses the financial world as we know it. In a high enough speed digital world, digital currencies could be bought and sold so rapidly the big players could destroy the little guys till people go back to realising true value is not a number of any currency but something that’s solidly of benefit to you others can not remove or change the value of at the drop of a hat.

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