The Downside of a Cashless Society

We have written in the past about the pitfalls of creating a so-called “cashless society,” among them the risk that it would disproportionately affect the elderly and disabled. Well here’s another: people will have no way to pay for goods and services when electronic systems go down. Such was the case during Target’s much-publicized point-of-sale outage last weekend. Target told its customers they could instead pay in cash or (gasp) by check while the outage was ongoing, only to find many did not carry either on their persons. Just another reason we should not go full bore on eliminating cash just yet.