Electronic payments have taken the world by storm, but they have the great drawback of making impulse purchases psychologically and literally faster and easier. Guardian columnist Brigid Delaney recently tried the experiment of using cash whenever possible, and found it made her think more carefully about purchases. She found that the act of having to go to the bank on Friday and withdraw a pile of physical, tangible cash that would have to last until her next trip to the bank was powerful enough to significantly alter her spending habits, and in some ways the use of cash was emotionally satisfying as well.
- The use of electronic payment methods has grown explosively, and both customers and vendors have sharply reduced their use of cash as a result.
- Electronic payment methods can increase impulse spending by making it easier, literally and figuratively, to spend money on small impulse buys.
- There is something about having to manage a physical pile of cash that must last for a certain amount of time that helps to encourage fiscal restraint.
“Before ATMs and electronic payments, people had to walk into a bank to get money out. I remember my mother with her passbook, the teller entering amounts in a small column, his script neat, and the rush to get to the branch before it shut at 5pm.”
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