I got caught twice this weekend without any cash, and running around searching for an ATM. I use my credit card for just about everything now, and only keep a max of $40 cash on me. I just found out that I can even pay my garbage bill now with a credit card. And last month I started paying my newspaper subscription with credit to save $1 a week on my rate. The only bills I can’t pay with my credit card now are my water bill, electric bill, and rent.
I’m guessing the utilities have a monopoly, so they have no incentive to offer the convenience of paying by credit card, unlike for instance long distance phone companies. But isn’t processing mailed-in checks also expensive? And I’d think there would be more on-time payments with credit card billing. That’s my guess why the garbage company decided to accept Visa/Mastercard (no American Express).
I mean, here’s a list of everything that I pay with credit cards:
Even places like Jack in the Box or McDonald’s
All retail purchases whenever possible
Of course, one good thing with all this is that I can get 2-5% of my purchases back in cash by paying with credit, which ends up being hundreds of dollars a year. (And it’s great for budgeting.) But even that is illusory. I’m sure they include the cost of the taking credit cards back into the prices. But the way I figure it, you might was well get your cash back since even cash-payers have to pay the slightly-inflated prices. I’d probably be okay with getting rid of pocket change, if not cash completely, if they removed the Visa/MC monopoly.
Most likely, I’m just annoyed I had to waste $2-3 in fees (not sure how much BofA is gonna ding me) just to take out $40 from one of those annoying ATM boxes. Twice. Isn’t it weird that the more ubiquitous credit cards are, the more of those little thieving ATMS you see? And it’s always inside stores/restaurants/bars that only take cash. Arrgh.
By Jonathan Ping | Credit Cards | 8/21/05, 10:33pm