Saturday, May 26, 2007

One Reason Why I Hate Cash, but Love Debit Cards

I prefer debit cards to cash, because debit cards, like cash, don’t get me in debt, but they, unlike cash, don’t make me deal with change.

I assume that a lot of goods in the USA have prices like $x.99, $x.97, etc. So one’s just give $x+1 and gets $0.01 or $0.03. What do you do with these coins? Will you use it in your future purchases or will you just come to a bank, make a pile of coins and say “I want to deposit it, please”?

Things are even more complicated in Russia. Well, Russian currency is ruble and it one ruble divided in 100 kopecks. As of May 2007, $1 is roughly 26 rubles. It means that 1 kopeck (1/26 cent) has ridiculously small value. I can’t think of a thing that costs less than 1 ruble. However we still deal with kopecks and prices like 13.34 rubles. Also 10 rubles note is the smallest note in Russia, and everything between 1 kopeck and 5 rubles is coins.

When I buy something for 13.34 rubles I give 14 rubles and get a heap of coins in change. Coin by coin, my wallet becomes heavier.

It’s even more complicated when the price is something like 40.12 and I give 50 rubles in one note. The person at the cash register doesn’t want to give me 9 rubles and 88 kopecks, so she asks me to give her 12 kopecks so that she could give me 10 rubles in one note. So I start rummaging in my wallet, I find 10 kopecks quite easily but 1 kopeck coin is relatively rare because it’s so small! Then I don’t find 2 kopecks and I get 9.88 in coins and it’s awfully heavy! While I am searching for coins quite a lot of time passes and there’s a line of other customers behind me...

The problem is not only with kopecks. When the price is 65 rubles, it’s usual to give 115 rubles at the cash register and get 50 rubles in one note. Well, I think I just lack mathematical skills to do all these give me X, I’ll give you Y calculations.

Things are much easier with debit cards. I just give a small piece of plastic and I get this small piece of plastic back, all rubles and loathsome kopecks taken automatically from my balance. It might be silly, but I tend to do all my shopping only in stores which take cards. It’s true that I don’t see this money, I don’t hold it, and I may not realize its value due to psychological reasons, but the convenience of dealing with electronic money means too much for me. I’d better take pains to budget in advance and watch my spending.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

i agree olga, i hate change also. i have heaps of 5 cent pieces here in Australia and it's a big hassle to take them back to the bank. if you give $1 worth of 5 cent pieces to someone they think you're cheap. What can you do? A dollar is a dollar.