Sunday, June 5, 2011

Who needs Kate and William? Cash will always be king!

Why Cash is King

I am proud to report that it has been four months since I used a credit card. That’s right, sixteen weeks of using my debit card, cash, and an Amex card that must be paid off in full every month. “If you can’t pay for it now, you can’t get it!” is my new mantra. So you can only imagine my despair when I received an email from Chase stating that my debit card had been compromised. “Click here for more info” the email read.  I freaked out, and assumed it was spam. No way and no how was I going to give these spammers my mom’s maiden name and social security number!

So rather than clicking, I call the microscopic number on the back of my debit  card ( reading glasses anyone?) and  lo and behold  the charming  customer service representative  , a-matter-of-factly  informs me , that yes, indeed , my debit card  was compromised.

He cannot tell me, who, what, where or when. But he can tell me that my card was cancelled two hours ago.  I literally have two dollars in my purse. Not enough for a subway ride in this town! And I don’t even CARRY credit cards in my wallet anymore.

“So you are telling me," I ask, "If I went to an ATM and tried to take money out, nothing would come out?"

"That’s right ma’am!"

“And if I went shopping to Macy’s after work, and tried to purchase something with a debit card, I would be out of luck?”

That’s right ma’am!"

Did I mention I HATE it when people call me ma’am?

 So I run out of work after five, on a Friday, before a holiday weekend and run to the nearest Chase. I’m dying of thirst, but realize I don’t have enough cash for even a bottle of water!  No debit, no credit card card to fall back on!

At Chase, young guy who doesn’t look old enough to have working papers says he can issue me a new temporary debit card. Except the problem is, I can’t use it for debits! Only to take out cash from ATM’s. No personalization with my name. No fancy logos or holograms. I take out $140.00 wondering how long this will last me, since I now need to pay CASH for everything.  

Our reliance of checking and debit cards has grown in the past decade. I automatically debit, my monthly bill from my   drycleaner, my gym, as well as other routine expenses.  Who carries cash anymore? I go to Starbucks, for a $3 coffee and use my debit card. If I buy myself lunch, I use my debit card. And my metro cards? Debit card! Maybe that’s how my card got “compromised" in the first place?

 I spend $20.00 of my new crisp cash on a metrocard, so I no longer have to walk home 70 blocks. And for the rest of the $120? It lasted me an entire week! I saved so much money, not using a debit card for everything single impulse.  I passed Starbucks, because I only had so much cash. Macy’s was out of the question.  Checking and debit cards although convenient  can be used just as easily as a credit card, and lends itself to an ever shrinking bank account.

8 business days later I got my shiny new Chase card in the mail. But now I think twice before I use it. The Brits may have Kate and William, but cash is my future king!