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Life Takes Visa and So Should You - Why You Should Always Use Credit or Debit Cards

Published 11/18/07 (Modified 3/9/11)
By MoneyBlueBook

J.D. Roth From Get Rich Slowly posted an entry today on his blog in which he drew attention to those popular Visa ads that promote the use of credit cards as the new trendy and speedy way to make everyday purchases. In case you've been living in a cave with your fingers stuck in your ears, or you just don't watch much television, here's the commercial we are talking about:

The message is pretty self evident - Using credit cards is fun, fast, and everyone is doing it, so don't get left out. Only those who aren't hip or "with it" use cash. The spinning shoppers in the commercial represent the gears of everyday commerce that grinds to a halt when someone like the lone, meekly man at the end attempts to use cash to make his purchase. The gesture causes everyone to drop everything in their hands in stunned shock - food, drinks, and all.

Using Credit and Debit Cards Is Much More Efficient

J.D. seems to really dislike the commercial as he sees it as a misguided attempted to demonize the usage of cash. I personally like the commercial and must disagree with his views on this one. I find that credit cards are almost always exponentially faster than using cash. Every time I go grocery shopping, I always dread following after someone in the checkout line who plans on using cash or even worse, checks. Cash is cumbersome and there is always the inevitable pause as the sales clerk and customer fumble around for loose change, to the occasional rolling eyes of everyone else.

Credit card purchases do require customers to pause momentarily to swipe their card and sign the receipt, but each transaction is otherwise seamlessly efficient. With the growing trend towards phasing out the need to sign the receipt for certain types of credit card purchases such as for fast food, the usage of cash will continue to wane.

Cash is Old School and Will Eventually Be Replaced By New Advances In Card Payment Technology

There will always be those who insist on sticking by their old habits and familiar ways of doing things. I'm sure there are some who still use paper book maps, rather than sites like MapQuest, but I think new technology should be embraced. They're designed to make our lives easier.

Not only that, cash is inherently very dirty to handle and you never know how many strange people have handled the bills and coins you are touching. Cash and checks also don't provide any of the pluses that card payments provide. Many credit cards today offer great ways to earn cash back rewards for making everyday purchases, and ways to earn interest income from no fee 0% balance transfer offers. The money and rewards you can earn really do add up over time and should be a part of everyone's financial planning.

Of course, not everyone can handle the responsibility of using credit cards. For those who have difficulty paying off their credit balance in full each month, there is always the option of using debit cards, which automatically withdrawals money from your checking account rather than using money on credit. Some companies like Citibank even offer reward points for using debit cards in the same you way you'd earn points for using credit. Either way, I just think card technology will only get better and quicker. Someday we might even have scanner technology that will allow us to pay without even having to take the card out of our wallet or purse!

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7 Responses to “Life Takes Visa and So Should You - Why You Should Always Use Credit or Debit Cards” 

  1. Chief Family Officer says:

    My problem with the commercial is more of a security thing - why isn't the cashier checking ID?!

  2. Raymond says:

    No one ever checks my ID anymore or even checks to see if my receipt signature matches the one displayed on the credit card. Nowadays I just sign literally with an "X" or sometimes I'll get creative and sign with smiley faces.

    I think credit cards are so common now and the credit card fraud protections are so extensive that consumers and merchants have both gotten very lax about identity verification. It's all about transaction expediency now I think.

  3. lelak says:

    The only time the cashier ever scrutinises the signature on my credit card is when I'm buying a case of beer.

  4. E.C. says:

    If you are making a large purchase, using a credit card is also a good idea since there is generally a bit of extra protection if the item is defective. My card agreement states: "If you have a problem with the quality of goods or services that you have purchased with a credit card, and you have tried in good faith to correct the problem with the merchant, you may not have to pay the remaining amount due on the goods and services. You have this protection only when the purchase price was more than $50 and the purchase was made in your home state or within 100 miles of your mailing address."

  5. Tim says:

    Cashiers should NOT check your I.D. If you read the Visa merchant agreement they are expressly forbidden from checking your I.D. Your signature is considered proof enough.

  6. Raymond says:

    Tim, you're right!

    I looked into it, but it really boggles my mind why Visa and MasterCard would expressly require merchants to enter into a contract agreeing NOT to check for identification beyond comparing signatures.

    MasterCard even has an online form where you can report merchants that required identification! That just seems so counter-intuitive 8O

  7. Debra says:

    My guess they can't check ID as a privacy measure. Many people use their home address on their driver's licenses, and some states still put SSN's as well.

    The possibility of that information being misused is very slim, of course, but all Visa/MC would need is one well-publicized incident of someone being forced to show their DL to purchase a big-screen TV, only to have their home burgled by the store clerk, for example.

    Far-fetched, but unfortunately not impossible in today's world.

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