Cash is King: Why Cash Is Superior to Mobile Payments & Credit Cards

Published: June 25th, 2022

One thing I've observed while traveling throughout SE Asia is just how heavily cash is used compared to that of the US, even for things such as paying for cabs and hotels. While I used to be in favor of a cashless society that relies solely on credit/debit cards and mobile payments, I've since changed my tune on the topic. Although using card and mobile payments can be convenient and more secure in some circumstances, these methods of payment add unnecessary complexity and brings in 3rd parties into transactions, and are also forms of surveillance capitalism which is detrimental to both our privacy and security. This post is for the previous iteration of myself who never really thought much about the potential ramifications of a world without cash.

Some benefits that cash has over cards and mobile payments apps:

There's no doubt a lot of benefits to using credit cards and apps like Apple Pay as they can be safer in some respects. Personally, for when I need to make a purchase online I use Privacy.com (a proxy linked to my bank account) to pay all of my online bills and I can set a limit to each Privacy.com card so that if the merchant spends more than the amount I set, the card will be declined. I use cash for everything else, while every once in a while writing a check if I need to send my partner money. Up until 2020 or so, I payed for everything with my credit card. I was very enthusiastic about living in a cashless world and earning points on my credit card when I spent more.

Sadly, I've seen more and more businesses in the US go cashless, sometimes refusing to accept cash whatsoever. I understand much of the reasoning behind this, but I reject it as it creates a less free society.

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