ATMIA’s Withdraw Cash Wednesday Fights The War on Cash


A movement is slowly making its way across America, creeping into businesses and banks, and creating a domino-effect on consumers and savers. It’s a growing campaign to stop spenders from using good old-fashioned cash. But what could result in big gains for credit card companies and banks has the potential to translate into massive buyer inconvenience, loss of freedom and personal expense.

People want to use cash. People want to make purchases in the way that suits them—not in the way that’s best for the credit card companies bottom lines.

​So, what gives? Here’s a snapshot of what’s been happening, and why it just doesn’t make sense.

Visa to businesses: upgrade your payment machines and stop taking cash
That’s right, Visa is working the small business angle to block cash transactions. They are enticing small merchants, restaurants in particular, with an offer to upgrade payment technology infrastructure, doling out rewards up to half a million dollars. The price to takers? Eliminate cash transactions completely.

Visa, a company who clearly dominates the U.S. card market, is clearly declaring war on cash. Why? Because chipping away at cash is what fattens their bottom line.

Cash is the most widely used payment instrument in the United States making up 32 percent of all transactions in 2015 according to the Federal Reserve. And cash is used more than 60 percent of the time for purchases under $10. On its heels is are debit card transactions coming in at 27 percent, and credit with 21 percent of the action.

Businesses will have to pay up
Cutting out cash and turning all payments digital may save businesses some time (no counting cash at the end of a long day, for example). But these firms will likely be dismayed to see the financial impact card processing fees, at an average of two percent, have on their earnings.

Additionally, not all consumers are willing to pay with cards. Restaurants, coffee shops, food trucks and fast food are businesses with a heavy cash following. Saying no to cash is essentially them saying no to most of their customers.

Consumers want payment options
The heart of exceptional customer service is giving customers what they want and catering to their needs. Telling them they cannot pay in cash is an attempt to deny their freedom of choice, as well as negatively control the customer experience.

Cash is king
Cash remains the number one way to pay for Americans despite new digital payment technologies, mobile payment options and splashy credit card offers in the mail.

Cash is the leader because:

  • It’s easy and assessable, in your wallet or pocket
  • It’s available to all, even those without a bank account or credit card
  • It’s convenient for purchases, tips and giving to friends and family
  • It does not have any fees
  • It discourages overspending
  • It guarantees privacy and anonymity
  • It’s secure, leaving no opportunity for personal information theft and fraud
  • It’s not vulnerable to electrical outages or technology disruptions


Visa’s war on cash is interesting. We’ll be watching to see how their cashless campaign progresses, but our bet is that cash as a way to pay will be around for the long haul. Join our Withdraw Cash Wednesday campaign and take control of Labor Day by using cash!

About WithdrawCashWednesday:

Withdraw Cash Wednesday (WCW) is a new initiative focused on promoting the value of using cash, specifically during heavy shopping on the Wednesday prior to black Friday shopping. So instead of relying on credit to purchase gifts during any holiday season, carry cash to pay for gifts as the primary source is an ideal way to save money and time.



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