Personal Finance

Cash Vs. Card: Which Is Better For Managing Your Money?

GBP pound coin resting on ten pound note

Banks and retailers have long been predicting – and pushing us towards – a cash free society.

Since the pandemic it has been common for smaller retailers to refuse cash all together, and these days even buskers can be found touting mobile card machines. However, recent trends suggest this might not be in step with what customers actually want. In fact, two out of three of us were still visiting a cash machine over the summer months, withdrawing an average of Β£60.

Counting on cash

Now that it’s so easy to make payment with the tap of a contactless card, you might wonder whether there’s any point using cash at all. Although it may not be necessary in a practical sense, there are still some good reasons to consider using it. Specifically, it can be a helpful tactic for managing your budget, as withdrawing a set amount of money and only spending what you physically have with you helps to curb overspending. It also means you can give yourself a clear limit of how much to spend on a particular shopping trip or occassion.

Using cash can also help you avoid getting into debt, making it a good alternative to overdrafts or credit cards. Once you’ve bought something, you don’t need to worry about future repayments or paying interest: you own it outright. This is why some people choose to switch to cash if trying to overcome unhealthy spending habits.

Banking on benefits

Cash can certainly have its place – especially if you’ve been struggling to budget – but that doesn’t mean we should all be emptying the contents of our bank accounts. For most people, using a debit or credit card will be more secure, as carrying wads of cash around leaves you more vulnerable to theft. It also gives you the opportunity to collect bonuses such as cashback and rewards points if you sign up with particular bank accounts or card providers.

Most of us also find cards more convenient, one of the key reasons we started to move away from cash in the first place. Carrying wads of cash can be cumbersome and means that you need to plan ahead to make sure you’ve got enough for any upcoming plans.

Navigating a cash free society

If you are a fan of paper money, you need to be aware of the limitations that it can bring. It can be wise to double check that the places you’re visiting still accept cash, to avoid the risk of being turned away.

A lot of the places you may traditionally think of being cash only, such as charity shops, local markets and public transport, now prefer card payments. This is partly due to hygiene measures brought in during the pandemic, and partly due to convenience. That said, small businesses also still pay a small fee for certain types of card transaction, which can make cash appealing to them.

Overall, the move towards more places accepting contactless payment should be a good thing – as long as cash is still an option for those who prefer it! The more options you have, the easier it is to manage money in a way that works for you.

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