Is Cold, Hard Cash Making a Comeback?

While the use of physical money has been declining in many places for years, the trend may have reached its apogee. In some countries, including the UK and Spain, it even appears to be staging a fragile comeback. 

There are few more cashless places in Europe than the United Kingdom — the continent’s fourth most cashless economy in 2021, according to research by personal finance website The transition began in earnest some years ago as more and more Brits happily embraced the ease, speed and convenience of contactless card or mobile payments. In 2017, debit card payments overtook cash for the first time. The COVID-19 pandemic turbocharged the trend, leading many consumers and retailers to abandon cash altogether.

“Cash use has been declining over the last ten years, with a particular drop during the pandemic as many retailers encouraged contactless payments and businesses such as pubs and hairdressers closed,” Adrian Buckle, head of research at trade body UK Finance, told Euronews Next. Cash accounted for 56% of payments in 2010, falling to 45% in 2015, and to 17% in 2020, according to UK Finance. The big banks’ ruthless culling of ATMs and branches during that time has helped accelerate this trend, making life increasingly difficult for people who depend on face-to-face bank transactions and cash to pay for everyday purchases.

“Anything But a Cashless Society”

But the trend may have reached its apogee, at least for the time being. Indeed, cash may even be staging a fragile comeback. Data published last week by the Post Office shows that more and more people are increasingly relying on notes and coins to help them manage their budgets amid the so-called “cost of living” crisis. In July, £3.31bln in cash was deposited and withdrawn across the Post Office’s 11,500 branches,  — a record high for any month dating back over three centuries of operations. Per the Guardian:

While the pandemic accelerated the UK’s embrace of card and digital payments, the economic crisis – with inflation going up and many bills expected to rise further – has led a growing number of people to turn once again to cash to help them plan their spending.

The Post Office said its branches handled a record £801m in personal cash withdrawals last month – an increase of almost 8% on June, and up 20% on the July 2021 figure of £665m.

In total, more than £3.3bn in cash was deposited and withdrawn at its 11,500 branches. The Post Office said this was the first time the monthly amount had exceeded £3.3bn in its 360-year history.

The organisation said it was “seeing more and more people increasingly reliant on cash as the tried and tested way to manage a budget.”


“Our latest figures clearly show that Britain is anything but a cashless society,” said Post Office Banking Director Martin Kearsley. “We’re seeing more and more people increasingly reliant on cash as the tried and tested way to manage a budget”.

While some British people may be turning back to cash or using it more often than before, actually spending physical money is easier said than done due to the growing number of high-street retailers refusing to accept cash payments. According to a report published this weekend by the UK’s number-one tabloid, The Sun, many retailers and hospitality chains in London, Birmingham and Newcastle, including Pizza Hut, Caffe Nero and sushi chain Itsu, have gone fully cashless since the pandemic. So too have many smaller retailers.

This is possible due to the fact that legal tender has a very narrow definition in the UK, and strictly applies to money used by a debtor to settle a court-awarded debt when offered (‘tendered’) in the exact amount that is owed to a creditor. In other words, if a debtor is offering to settle a debt in court with legal tender such as cash, the creditor is not allowed to refuse it. Shops and hospitality businesses, by contrast, are.

Demonization of Cash During Pandemic

Many retailers, particularly in the more salubrious parts of towns and cities, are taking full advantage of this loophole, despite the discriminatory effects it has on the millions of people who still depend on cash, including the roughly 1.3 million who are unbanked. The decision to refuse cash also has little basis in public health. As confirmed by a growing body of research, including a recent paper in the journal Risk Analysis, cash remains safe to use and poses a “very low” risk of spreading COVID-19.

This is not what people were told in the early months of the pandemic. In March 2020, as countries were locking down around the world, a World Health Organization (WHO) spokesperson responded to a question about whether banknotes could spread the coronavirus by saying: “Yes it’s possible and it’s a good question. We know that money changes hands frequently and can pick up all sorts of bacteria and viruses … when possible it’s a good idea to use contactless payments.”

Around the world, media outlets and long-standing enemies of cash such as credit card companies and fintech start-ups seized on the comments and magnified them, sparking fears over the safety of cash. The WHO eventually walked back its comments but in many countries the damage was already done. In the UK, cash withdrawals at ATMs fell sharply. Today, only 17% of payments are now made with coins and notes, according to the Royal Society of Arts’ latest Cash Census report.

At the same time, demand for physical dollar and euro notes (and many other currencies) has surged, even as the use of cash has fallen. Two and a half years after the first lockdowns of 2020, the total value of dollar and euro notes in circulation is respectively 18% and 21% higher. This surge in demand for bank notes, at a time that cash use was falling in most countries, is taken as a sign that many people have been “hoarding” cash (i.e., taking it out of the bank and storing it at home) during this time of acute economic uncertainty.

Banning Cashless Businesses

The situation in the UK contrasts starkly with recent developments in parts of the US in another major way. In the US, local or state authorities in places such as New York City, New Jersey, Philadelphia and San Francisco have approved laws banning businesses from banning cash (click here for Jerri Lynn’s analysis of these developments last year).

Another country that recently passed a law prohibiting businesses from rejecting cash is my country of residence, Spain, where pensioners recently won a milestone victory against the big banks’ war on cash. After years of being progressively sidelined by the banks’ gradual withdrawal of cash services in branches and their closure of ATMs, elderly customers finally ran out of patience in March this year. One pensioner called for a payment card strike, which spread like wildfire across social media and messaging apps like WhatsApp and Telegram. As I noted at the time, the irony was inescapable:

[S]enior citizens [were] using the latest communications technologies to call for a nationwide one-day strike in favor of cash payments. Given the importance of pensioners and senior citizens for Caixabank’s business — the bank is home to 30% of all domiciled pensions in Spain and the elderly tend to have a lot more capital and disposable income than the more digitally astute younger generations — the lender’s senior management has finally began to change policy.

That was in April. A month later, the Spanish government passed a law forcing retail establishments to accept payments in cash, enshrining the right of consumers to freely choose which payment method to use. This is in a country where the overwhelming majority of businesses still readily accept cash. The law also guarantees the right of people living in rural communities to be able to access cash. Since then, the Spanish Banking Association, the Confederation of Savings Banks and the National Union of Credit Cooperatives have signed an agreement aimed at ensuring that people living in small rural municipalities have access to cash, most notably through Post Office service points.

In Spain cash plays a much larger role in transactions than in the UK. Nonetheless, that role is diminishing. According to the Bank of Spain’s latest national survey on the use of cash, in 2020 physical money ceased to be the most common means of payment in Spain, accounting for 36% of transactions, down from 80% in 2014. Fifty-four percent of transactions were made with debit cards.

But cash has not lost its allure among many Spaniards, including those who don’t use it very often. A survey last year by the consultancy firm GAD3 for the cash defense platform Denaria found that 90% of respondents oppose eliminating cash. Seventy-two percent said that cash is the safest form of payment method; 70% said it is the most reliable and 78% said it guarantees the most privacy.

The Only Truly Inclusive Form of Payment

“Cash is the only means of payment that fulfils a valuable social function both in terms of cohesion and integration”, said Concepción Jiménez, General Director of Cash and Branches for the Bank of Spain. This is a key point I have made in previous articles: cash is the only means of payment that is truly financially inclusive, in that it is accessible to all people regardless of age, technological know-how and social, economic or legal status. A totally cashless economy would systematically exclude the most vulnerable.

Of course, there are myriad other reasons why a fully cashless society is far from desirable for most people, including the inevitability of more granular surveillance, the loss of one of our last vestiges of personal privacy and anonymity and the much broader powers of control and surveillance it would grant to both governments and corporations over our spending habits — and indeed potentially over our ability to earn or spend money at all. Even in the UK, a majority of people are concerned at the thought of a cashless society, with only 20% saying it wouldn’t bother them, according to a survey by

A totally cashless economy would also be inherently fragile, as Stefan Ingves, the former governor of the world’s oldest central bank, Sweden’s Riksbank, warned in 2018:

“If the power supply is cut it’s no longer possible to make electronic payments. For reasons based purely in preparedness we need notes and coins that work without electricity.”

A New Generation of Cash Lovers?

Cash also has another perk: its tangible nature makes it easier for people to manage their money and rein in their spending habits, which is particularly important in times of high inflation, rising interest rates and falling real wages — and right now, real UK wages are falling at the fastest rate on record, according to the FT.

This timely benefit of cash appears to be winning over a new generation of cash lovers. In June Bloomberg reported that Generation Z “is embracing cold, hard cash” as surging inflation erodes their spending power. The hashtag for “cash-stuffing” — the practice of placing set amounts of cash into specific envelopes for each type of expenditure, and checking their balance at the end of the month — has generated over 530 million views on TikTok to date. Whether Gen Z’s newfound fondness for cash is a short-lived fad or something more enduring only time will tell.

“A recovery is already visible, although not to previous levels,” says Jimenez, of the Bank of Spain. In the UK, the Royal Society of Art’s latest Cash Census report found that the number of people wholly reliant on cash remains unchanged, at around 15 million, even as online banking and shopping have become increasingly common.

In some countries cash is still the undisputed (albeit somewhat diminished) king of the payments system, including in the world’s third and fourth largest economies, Japan and German. As recently reported here, the Bank of Japan even recently decided to put its plans to launch a central bank digital currency (CBDC) on ice, partly due to the still-dominant position of cash in the Japanese economy.

The same is true of many emerging markets. For example, in Mexico 90% of the population continued to use cash for low-value transactions (i.e., below 500 pesos) in 2021. For higher-value transactions (i.e., above 500 pesos) 78% of the population still use cash. This is despite ongoing efforts by successive governments, banks and the central bank to promote digital, biometric-enabled transactions. It’s a similar story in Colombia where the use of cash actually grew 31% during the first year and a half of the pandemic (January 2020-June 2021). By contrast, Chile has seen card payments overtake cash as the preferred means of payment since the pandemic.

Every country (and in the US, arguably every state or municipality) has its own unique story to tell (and I invite readers from around the world to share their own experiences of cash use in their respective necks of the wood).

The government of Israel, for example, just set a maximum cash transaction limit of 6,000 new shekels (roughly $1,700), ostensibly to combat financial crimes and tax evasion. In China two banks ended all cash services in February, just months after the Bank of China, which itself is overseeing the roll out of a digital yuan, fined 16 public and private organizations for refusing to accept cash payments. A recent op-ed in China Daily, an English-language daily newspaper owned by the Publicity Department of the Chinese Communist Party, proclaimed that China has all but completed its transition into a cashless economy thanks to the rise of fintech platforms like Tencent’s WeChat Pay and Alibaba’s Alipay.

“The last time I saw someone paying in cash was a month ago when a senior citizen paid for his purchase in a supermarket,” wrote the author of the article, adding rather smugly: “Both the checkout staff and customers waiting behind the elderly person looked impatient.”

At the opposite end of the Eurasian continent, a public backlash in Ireland against large lender AIB’s plan to turn 70 of its 170 branches into cashless outlets forced the bank to backtrack. Like the UK, Ireland is at the leading edge of Europe’s cashless transition, but AIB’s plan would have left many small communities with no means at all of accessing cash services. It was a step too far, too soon, admitted the bank’s CEO Colin Hunt: “We got it wrong. The lesson for us from this is that we moved far too far, far too fast.”

Given the threat a fully cashless economy would pose to our privacy, anonymity and many of our basic freedoms, including the freedom to transact, as well as the unprecedented centralizing power that CBDCs will grant to central banks and the elite interests they serve, one can only hope this is a lesson that more and more people and businesses are beginning to heed.

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  1. orlbucfan

    I live in a hurricane-prone area. We always have physical cash set aside cos of extended power outages. Just basic common sense.

  2. jackiebass63

    A few businesses where I live are cash only. The vast majority accept credit cards. I rarely use cash when shopping.I charge 99% of the things I buy. I pay my credit card bill in full each month, so I don’t incur any charges. None of my cards charge a fee to have the card.The reason I charge most things is because all of my cards give me back cash rewards. So actually most of my purchases end up being 5% cheaper.It would be stupid of me to pay cash if a credit card is accepted.

      1. Arizona Slim

        I’m part of the #cashfriday movement. Simply put, you pay cash for your purchases on Fridays — or on other days, if you’d lik. If you’re not carrying cash, write a check that’s drawn on a locally owned bank or credit union.

        While I’m paying cash or writing checks, I tell merchants why I’m doing this. So far, everyone has been very appreciative.

        As for change from cash purchases? I just tell ’em to keep the change.

    1. timotheus

      Amazon products are also frequently cheaper and conveniently delivered to your door. Amazon is also destroying local commerce through monopolistic practices, which is likely to lead to increased crapification and narrowing of consumer choices as well as higher overall costs in the long run. One’s individual convenience often comes at a social cost.

    2. LAS

      Do you never wonder where the money for your cash back rewards comes from? Or why your cash back rewards are more on some type of purchases than others?

  3. YuShan

    I read here (UK) that cash payments are increasing again because it makes it easier for people to keep their spending in check now that inflation is causing widespread poverty. I asked a cashier in a frozen food store if he sees more cash payments now and he said this is definitely the case. Just one sample, but confirming the narrative.

  4. marieann

    I have never given up my cash I use it all the time, even on large purchases ($2000) The shop owners take it gladly.

    My visa is used for online shopping.

    1. flora

      My visa is used for online shopping.

      Mine, too. If a high street store won’t take cash I won’t shop in that store.

    2. The Rev Kev

      I have a dedicated card for online shopping but every other transaction I pay cash so that I can see it emptying out of my wallet. And like orlbucfan above, I keep a reserve at home in case of floods, power outages, etc. But with all the things going on. I have been slowly upping that reserve when I can. Reading history, I am very well aware of how when things go really bad, that the government can shut the banks for an extended period of time. And I still remember when they shut the banks in Cyprus in 2013 and gave people who had money in those banks a haircut-

  5. Eclair

    Good grief, I am old enough to remember life without plastic! My dad refused to get a credit card, when their use started to become widespread. Certainly, my grandparents plodded through life paying cash. Although they had the privilege of ‘running a tab’ at the local grocery store, and paying monthly.

    I distinctly remember when ATM’s became a feature in my plastic-less life. Trying, as a single mom, to juggle kids, job, grad school AND getting to the bricks-and-mortar bank before 3 PM on M-F, to withdraw enough cash to go grocery shopping on the weekend, added to my stress. Lord, how I loved being able to stop at the ATM to withdraw the grocery money on Saturday, or even Sunday, morning!

    And, who remembers the ‘gas cards’ issued by Shell and Mobil? And, the lovely ‘Sears Card?’ They were an intermediary between cash (and check) and the ‘one card (or app) that in the darkness binds them.’ The first tentative steps in the grand illusion perpetrated on the working class that, despite the clamp-down on wage growth, their opportunities to expand their life-style were as boundless as their credit limit.

    Here in Chautauqua County, NY and just over the border in Pennsylvania, we have a booming cash sub-culture. Most of the gas stations offer a cash discount and buying fresh veggies, just-picked corn, and eggs, at the local farms, or from the neighbor who raises chickens, are all cash transactions. Unless of course, one uses the barter system.

    The Amish, of course, do not carry plastic. My friend who runs a dry goods store transacts in cash, as do the Amish who keep bulk food stores, leather shops, garden stores. This leads, of course to an active market for the old ten key adding machines with the side lever, used to add up your purchases. When the local Amish carpenters build you a new roof, or a shed, or add a porch to your house, be prepared to get a wad of greenbacks to pay the workers. Checks, or course, are sometimes an option, but usually only the business owners have a checking account and that is mostly for paying out-of-town suppliers.

    Is our society further breaking down into distinct groups? The extremely wealthy are able to evade tracking with off-shore accounts. The very poor, the undocumented, the Amish, use cash The great middle are tracked up one side and down the other.

    1. drumlin woodchuckles

      Are members of the great middle becoming aware that there are cash-based groups maintaining a cash-mostly economy? And that they themselves could begin defecting to that economy in part, if not all the way?

  6. Lexx

    We live in both worlds, charging most of our purchases and then paying off the card every payday. But we also keep a stash of cash around for vaguely-defined emergencies… The Stash. I’ve considered sinking a safe somewhere in the house so we can keep a little more cash around, along with important documents, and the few valuable stones we own.

    How is the safety deposit biz doing, or safe installations? Are people accumulating tangibles, and if so, where are they keeping them?

    1. herman_sampson

      There was an article somewhere some time ago about the shortcomings of safety deposit boxes: if the bank went belly up, FDIC would take care of accounts, but creditors might get the boxes; change of ownership of banks may complicate access; in short, banks had little responsibility FCC or the contents.

  7. mistah charley, ph.d.

    This is about means of payment, although not cash per se – I just renewed my Financial Times subscription – I noted that they no longer accept checks. My occasional cash purchases are done at gas stations which give a discount or do not accept credit cards at all.

  8. Quentin

    I’m a real scrooge. I like to handle cash, count it, look it, put it under my pillow, play with it like Monopoly money, as many wads as possible. Three times I visited Iran where money machines (ATMs) are nearly or completely nonexistent. You need cash to convert to Iranian rials. So I carried three stashes of $1000: one in my money belt and one in each of my two backpacks. If one of them got stolen, I had the insurance of falling back on the others. If I lost all three, I would have had to depend on the Netherlands embassy in Tehran for assistance and how could have I have ever managed that in such a large country where I could hardly handle the language. As an aside, I have have the fondest and warmest memories of that fantastic country and people, but then I do not have to live there in poverty. May the US burn in hell for all the sanctions it has imposed around the world!

    1. Lexx

      I liked everything about the first sentence, Scrooge McDuck… (thank gawd it’s not just me). Wads: preferably in bundles of $500-$1000 in $20’s. Throwing it down, sniffing, rolling around in it, and kicking my hind legs. That’s what floats my boat.

  9. Dave in Austin

    When you use cash:

    1) It always works even when the computer is down
    2) You can ask for a big cash discount and you will often get it
    3) Tax? What tax?
    4) You never hear the words “overdraft” or “interest”
    5) You always live within your income.

    1. CaliDan

      6) You don’t get spam blasted advertisements selling feminine hygiene products because of that one time three years ago you picked some up for your wife using a credit card.

  10. Pavel

    I went to a pub in London and then a bit later one in Dublin and in both cases I was told it was cashless only — the first time *after* my pint had been poured. I had a debate with the bar staff woman who couldn’t see any privacy issues — “If I don’t have anything to hide why should I worry.” In retrospect I should have walked out on principle but used my card.

    I make a conscious effort to carry cash and use it, and there is no question one has a greater sense of actually spending, well, hard cash instead of just tapping a card. Often in the latter case one doesn’t even know what the amount is.

    As noted in the post this varies a lot by country and culture. I have been to many restaurants and bars in Japan that are cash *only* — how quaint!

    I pass through NY every other month or so and am relieved they at least fought back.

    And as orlbucfan points out above re hurricanes — there will be increasing numbers of power blackouts in the future. Who wants to depend upon cellphones and internet connections and electronic POS devices?

    1. Adam1

      Next time you have a similar conversation with the bar keep, ask them if they are certain they are getting all of their electronic tips. Tip theft (usually by management) is a big and real problem in many parts of the US. I often use cash when tipping at a pub or restaurant for this reason.

      1. Lexx

        Ditto and one step further… I hunt the wait person down wherever she/he may be in the restaurant and put the cash in their hands. If you’ve ever seen some fat little boy wait till his parents were out of sight, reach over and pocket your tip after you’ve jogged miles waiting on his PISA family… never again. Money right in the wait staff’s hands. Decades have passed and I’m still pissed. If I coulda… grrrrrr! Especially given the size of tips these days, out there all vulnerable on the table.

      2. Pavel

        In fact I have already been doing this when feasible — I pay the main bill with a card and then ask “do you accept a cash tip?” and they invariably say ‘YES’ with positive glee. Presumably sometimes the cash tip isn’t declared and at the least the management doesn’t take their grifting 5% cut (or however much it is).

        Honestly I should just pay the entire bill in cash, which sometimes means having a few hundred dollars on hand (occasional expensive dinners in NYC and elsewhere).

        NB In Ireland I once left a cash tip and said “Cash is king” and the pub owner said “Now in Ireland we got rid of kings a long time ago.” (^_^) Duly noted!

  11. meadows

    Ah, yes, the Old Sears Card, I knew it well. Also had a Goodyear Tire Card, for auto repairs. As a college student in the early 70’s Mom would loan me her car and her Mobile Card.

    We now pay all gas and groceries w/a card, paid off monthly, but we have too many! I believe in “one card to rule them all” but Mrs. Meadows does not.

    Have completely ditched ATM machines, cut up debit cards and nixed savings accts. Just checking remains, and a modest cash stash.

    All paper checks for monthly bills, am old-fashioned and also like chatting with helpful bank tellers, they are great!

  12. Wukchumni

    Marijuana stores only take banknotes, which makes them a bulwark in the war on cash.

    That said, it has also made them a prime target for stick-ups, as all they do is take in money all day long, about the only business that does that these days.

    1. hunkerdown

      One, pot businesses can’t take cards because the law doesn’t allow them full access to banking, otherwise some of them might well decline the vulnerability of cash on site.

      Two, pot businesses here are robustly physically protected with electric doors, Plexiglas barriers, ID checks at the door, plainclothes armed guards on site, and armored transport services. Data centers I’ve encountered require entrants to surrender their ID; aside from that, the level of security is about the same to my eye.

      1. Wukchumni

        The other business that takes in a lot of cash which often has very light security measures is post offices, but you almost never hear of one being held up.

      2. lyman alpha blob

        They do take cards using a “cashless ATM” –

        The customer pays the fee at the point of sale, and the transaction reads on a bank statement as an ATM withdrawal and not a purchase from a weed store, which is nice for those who don’t want a direct record of purchasing a product that only recently became legal and may not be forever.

  13. Paul Harvey 0swald

    We are also a hybrid. Credit card online, check card in person, and cash/check as much as possible with local vendors. Mostly so the processing fee stays in their pocket, instead of VISA / MC / Apple, etc. And of course a healthy stash in a strong box at the house if (when) the power goes out.

    Also, I’m not convinced that plastic transactions are actually faster than cash. I’ve been stuck plenty times at the register for far longer than what a cash transaction would take during a card transaction. I key in the PIN incorrectly and, “oh, did I cancel that? Start over? OK”. Or plain old card reader fail, for reasons. We take it on faith that card transactions are faster, but I’m unaware of any actual evidence in the aggregate that supports it.

  14. chuck roast

    Funky Broadway is my street. I walk down it everyday, check out the locals and get checked out. There is not one cashless business on this quarter mile commercial stretch. Convenience stores, restaurants, print shop, bike stores, record shop, bakery, coffee shops, yadda yadda. If a store on this street refused to take cash it would not last long. Indeed, it would probably be shunned. And check out Dyke and the Blazers for a real feel of the place.

  15. spud

    can’t wait to see the nafta democrats start to confiscate Trumps and his supporters of their bank accounts and other digital types of money, just as they did to Russia and Afghanistan.

    should send shudders through a few cashless drones.

    1. Rip Van Winkle

      Money printing inflation is confiscation from all savers, whether in a bank account or under the pillow.

  16. Dan

    Cash gets a ten percent discount from this tradesman. Saves me the fees that banks often charge on checks, bounced checks, the credit card vigorish and best of all, immediate cash flow to spend in other small stores which offer at worst, a five percent cash discount and at best, up to 15%.

    Corporate gas stations and corporate stores, I use a credit card that earns me points.

  17. kareninca

    Cash for abortions, cash for guns, cash for drugs. If something is desperately important to you, but the government doesn’t want you to have it, it is prudent to have the cash on hand for it. I’m not personally in that situation but it is very easy to imagine.

    1. flora

      Now imagine that restriction applied to foodstuffs like “beef”, “poultry”, “fresh eggs”, “milk”, “butter”, “salmon”, “cod fish”, and etc. / ;)

      1. kareninca

        Yes. Actually in our case it is dog emergency vet care. We have to have a backup for that, not because the government is (yet) opposed, but in case the system goes down. But as you say, it could become a lot worse.

        I’ve read that in some South American country people used individual links from gold chains. I’m afraid I couldn’t tell real from fake with that sort of thing. Actually from what I’ve read about tungsten filler, it is not easy for anyone to tell.

  18. Roland

    I use cash whenever I can.

    In store checkouts, cash is much faster. Even the tapped cards without PIN are slow, and bog everybody down.

    It’s not the sovereign’s business where I go or what I buy. If Sovereign thinks I’m doing something bad, then let the Sovereign issue a warrant. I’m sick and tired of being under surveillance.

    Who cares about tax evasion? Taxes don’t fund the gov. It’s not like the Sovereign isn’t going to spend whatever they want anyway.

    1. Pavel

      It’s not the sovereign’s business where I go or what I buy. If Sovereign thinks I’m doing something bad, then let the Sovereign issue a warrant. I’m sick and tired of being under surveillance.


      And a final postscript… I go out with my cash and one card (for emergencies) and leave my iPhone at home. A truly liberating feeling, being ever so briefly out of the surveillance state’s eyes.

  19. Kw

    Let’s be real. Cash has some legitimate use at times. Many have pointed out need for emergency use during power outages. In my personal experience, I had to supply cash at Western Union to post bail for a family member. Visited Greece a few years ago and there was a transit strike over Uber but it wasn’t about Uber per se but that Uber required credit cards and transactions could be searched for tax avoidance. Cash is a threat to the underground economy. Cash is used for drug trafficking. Cash is a way to secure labor. This is why governments are forcing people into cashless digital financial world. Tell me about the helpless disenfranchised who only use cash and most of the time, that person has a smartphone with app to handle transactions. Migrants flood the southern border with prepaid cash cards and supplied smart phones and are coached by groups in how to sign on to EBT and other benefits supplied for those disenfranchised folks.

  20. scott s.

    Down in S Louisiana, across the river from New Orleans, I see a huge cash economy. I would go to Southern Metal Recycling, everything cash except for copper they mail a check per state law.

    But for retail, most places don’t want the 50, so you are stuck with a wad of 20s.

    I have a stash of Euro, plastic from a US bank can be a rip-off outside the country.

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