New Front on White Privilege: Cashless Payment Systems

Axios morning email thingie tells us that we are turning into a cashless society:

We’ve suddenly cut back on using cash for fear it may spread the virus, and some worried shopkeepers have stopped accepting it, Axios managing editor Jennifer Kingson reports.

  • Why it matters: The virus has changed our buying and payment habits forever. Online shopping is through the roof, and consumers are rushing to get “contactless” credit and debit cards, which are tapped at a merchant terminal rather than inserted or swiped.

The coronavirus has made us scared to touch anything, and there’s a perception that money is dirty and payment terminals carry germs.

  • ATM use is down 32%, according to Visa, and 63% of consumers say they’re using less cash.

The next big thing: contactless cards. They’re pervasive in Europe and elsewhere, and are just starting to hit the U.S. in a big way.

  • People who use Apple Pay and Samsung Pay on their phones have gotten used to paying with a wave.
  • Burger King ran a recent commercial in which it touted its contactless payment option.

Which sounds very modern and fancy, but it also signals another great divide: what about people who don’t have bank accounts, the vast majority of whom are Black and Latino? This is why those payday lenders/check cashing places exist.

I know I bang on this drum a lot. White privilege is pervasive and largely unseen by white people like me (which is why it is a privilege) but when stories like this don’t even consider the impact on people of color, it’s just another example of unseeing, unthinking erasure of our friends and neighbors experience.

I don’t really know if money is a vector of the virus, though I have often watched people lick their fingers before peeling off bills, but if it is, then the folks who are forced to pay in cash spending are gonna be hurt.

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9 Responses to New Front on White Privilege: Cashless Payment Systems

  1. sos says:

    Finger lickers are just going for the cocaine.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. artahzen says:

    I use cash. Let a grocery store tell me they won’t take it and I will go somewhere else. I will not buy anything from a place that does not follow what the damn money says, (No, not In Gawd We Trust) “This note is legal tender for all debts, public and private.” I am not forced to use cash, I prefer to for things other than my bills and online ordering.

    Liked by 1 person

    • tengrain says:

      I got in the habit of using cash when the ticket is below $10 Ameros. It just seemed stupid not to. BUT with the virus, I’ve been using ApplePay almost exclusively. I have the same bills in my wallet today as I had in March when we began our lockdown.



      Liked by 2 people

  3. Dennis Cole says:

    And what about those prepaid debit cards the Gov’t was sending out to folks who didn’t have direct deposit? Under a no-bid contract, to 2 private “banking firms” that specialize in those cards – and the outrageous fees they come with? Try this: $1 for each usage at a commercial/retail location. $7.00 for an out-of-network ATM, $2 – $3 for IN-network ATMs, along with other special “handling & processing” fees.

    And they were sent out in plain-looking envelopes, without any “Official Gov’t correspondence inside” notice, so that a lot of people didn’t realize what they were, and tossed them in the trash.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Robert Mcneilly says:

    And some people roll up bills and stick them in their nostrils.
    I know, weird huh?

    Liked by 1 person

  5. retiredeng says:

    Cash is plenty dirty but the virus don’t stick to paper or metal. You catch it from vapor emitting from a positive carrier.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dennis Cole says:

      Except that the Virus sticks quite well, and survives, in the oils constantly produced by those special glands that cause us to leave fingerprints at the scenes of the crimes we commit, and the scientists still can’t all agree on how long it does, or on all the other surfaces we come into contact with in our daily lives. It’s why plain old soap-and-water work so well, why hand-washing is so crucial; it dissolves the lipids and oils the Virus clings to. It’s why rubbing alcohol, not so much; can’t cut the fat, nor the mustard, neither.

      Now, back to the lab, where I’m in the process of inventing an acid SO powerful that no container known to Modern Science can contain it, it dissolves everything it touches. Then, of course, I’ll have to invent a container to contain it.

      Then, I’ll improve the acid to eat through the new container, so that I’ll have to invent an even newer confinement process………….isn’t that how Gov’t was invented?

      Liked by 1 person

    • Dennis Cole says:

      “Touch a doorknob, rub your eye;
      Pretty soon you’re gonna die…”

      Liked by 1 person

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