BUSINESS + ECONOMY

Want to pay cash? That might cost extra

Jun 17, 2024, 11:00 AM

Consumers who pay in cash used to get discounts. Now, it can cost you extra as we shift away from p...

Consumers who pay in cash used to get discounts. Now, it can cost you extra as we shift away from paying with cash in our society. (Shutterstock)

(Shutterstock)

SALT LAKE CITY — Consumers who pay in cash used to get discounts. Now, it can cost you extra as we shift away from paying with cash in our society.

Many airlines, including Delta, don’t accept cash anymore. If you go to a Jazz game at the Delta Center, you’ll quickly learn that it is a cashless arena. So is Yankee Stadium and many other sports arenas around the country.

But, isn’t the dollar legal tender?

“There has been a big debate about this in many parts of the country,” explained Robert Spendlove, Senior Economist with Zions Bank. “This is part of a much bigger trend of moving away from cash. If you’re a person who runs a business, it’s easy if you’re doing all your transactions in one form. All cash or all cashless.”

Also read: National Park Service being sued for switching to cashless entry

Even hotels are moving away from the use of cash for tips.

“A lot of hotels are transitioning to a QR code in the room where you can scan to leave a tip for the people who clean the room,” Spendlove explained.

The reverse ATM

What happens if you go to one of these places, like the Delta Center, and you only have cash? Enter the reverse ATM. At the Delta Center, there is no charge to convert your cash to a MasterCard debit card, but at Yankee Stadium, you’ll pay a $3.50 fee.

Some states have banned businesses from going cashless unless they provide a reverse ATM with no fees. Congress introduced a similar bill that would require businesses to accept cash for purchases under $500.

There is even debate over what the word “cash” means.

“I don’t think we’ve clearly defined what cash is,” Spendlove said. “Is it that physical dollar or is it that virtual dollar that you have in your bank account or in Venmo or on a credit card?”

Who is using cash?

Across the board we’re seeing people using less cash, but young people are really embracing the cashless society.

“We’ve seen a big change just in the last 10 years in use of cash,” Spendlove said. “10 years ago, 31% of 18-24 year old’s used cash. Today, it’s dropped to 14%. With 25-54 year old’s, it’s gone from 30% to 12%. With 55 and older, it’s dropped from 32.5% to 22%.”

Even kids don’t want cash anymore.

“Whenever our young kids get cash, they give it to my wife and have her Venmo them the money back,” Spendlove said. “They don’t want to carry cash.

The other group that uses cash is people with lower incomes.

“That’s one of the big concerns,” Spendlove said. “We talk about this in banking quite a bit. There are millions of people who are unbanked, where they don’t have a bank account. They don’t have access to banking services. We’re trying to address that.”

Spendlove explained that for people earning less than $25,000 a year, about a third of them use cash for all of their payments.

“As you go up the income scale, people use cash less and less. Once you get to about $150,000 a year or more, they’re down to 13% using cash,” Spendlove said.

Amanda Dickson is the co-host of Utah’s Morning News and A Woman’s View on KSL NewsRadio. Follow her on Facebook and Instagram.

 

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Want to pay cash? That might cost extra