Travel

Cash - still needed post-pandemic?

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  • Jan 24th, 2023 6:04 am
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[OP]
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Nov 6, 2022
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Québec

Cash - still needed post-pandemic?

Every since the pandemic hit I've completely stopped using cash, I haven't made an ATM withdrawal in close to three years. That's viable in Canada, but is it viable elsewhere? I know that when I visited some European countries like Germany in the past there were a significant number of places which don't accept cards. Is that still the case?

This year I'll be visiting the US (Las Vegas), France and the UK. Any cashless experiences in those places?

Thanks :)
21 replies
Deal Expert
Feb 7, 2017
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Eastern Ontario
jdelarunz wrote: Every since the pandemic hit I've completely stopped using cash, I haven't made an ATM withdrawal in close to three years. That's viable in Canada, but is it viable elsewhere? I know that when I visited some European countries like Germany in the past there were a significant number of places which don't accept cards. Is that still the case?

This year I'll be visiting the US (Las Vegas), France and the UK. Any cashless experiences in those places?

Thanks :)
Cuz of Canada’s uniquely structured Banking System … and the INTERAC System
We enjoy one of the safest banking systems in the world
That truly does function IN REAL TIME

Our Debit Cards aren’t linked to CCs
Like they are in other places
Cuz when you pay by debit here
The withdrawal of funds from your bank account happens instantaneously

Our CC networks work similarly
So we see a lot less HOLDS
Vs a lot more REAL TIME PROCESSING

It’s stuff as Cdns we take for granted
Or don’t even realize we have it this way / so good
Til we go elsewhere

I love my plastic
But I still carry cash when I travel
At least enough to keep me afloat for 24 to 72 hours
In case something goes off the rails

I see it as peace of mind

PS … over the years it’s served me well
And now with global warming severe climate events
You never know when the power … ATMs, Phones, Internet etc
Might go off line
Same reason I keep a wee bit of cash in reserve at home
It’s saved my bacon a few times in the last few years

Last time … the big Rogers outage in July
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2022_Roge ... ons_outage
Member
Nov 9, 2004
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71 upvotes
PointsHubby wrote: Cuz of Canada’s uniquely structured Banking System … and the INTERAC System
We enjoy one of the safest banking systems in the world
That truly does function IN REAL TIME

Our Debit Cards aren’t linked to CCs
Like they are in other places
Cuz when you pay by debit here
The withdrawal of funds from your bank account happens instantaneously

Our CC networks work similarly
So we see a lot less HOLDS
Vs a lot more REAL TIME PROCESSING

It’s stuff as Cdns we take for granted
Or don’t even realize we have it this way / so good
Til we go elsewhere

I love my plastic
But I still carry cash when I travel
At least enough to keep me afloat for 24 to 72 hours
In case something goes off the rails

I see it as peace of mind

PS … over the years it’s served me well
And now with global warming severe climate events
You never know when the power … ATMs, Phones, Internet etc
Might go off line
Same reason I keep a wee bit of cash in reserve at home
It’s saved my bacon a few times in the last few years

Last time … the big Rogers outage in July
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2022_Roge ... ons_outage
This 100% !!!
[OP]
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Nov 6, 2022
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Québec
PointsHubby wrote: Cuz of Canada’s uniquely structured Banking System … and the INTERAC System
We enjoy one of the safest banking systems in the world
That truly does function IN REAL TIME

Our Debit Cards aren’t linked to CCs
Like they are in other places
Cuz when you pay by debit here
The withdrawal of funds from your bank account happens instantaneously

Our CC networks work similarly
So we see a lot less HOLDS
Vs a lot more REAL TIME PROCESSING

It’s stuff as Cdns we take for granted
Or don’t even realize we have it this way / so good
Til we go elsewhere

I love my plastic
But I still carry cash when I travel
At least enough to keep me afloat for 24 to 72 hours
In case something goes off the rails

I see it as peace of mind

PS … over the years it’s served me well
And now with global warming severe climate events
You never know when the power … ATMs, Phones, Internet etc
Might go off line
Same reason I keep a wee bit of cash in reserve at home
It’s saved my bacon a few times in the last few years

Last time … the big Rogers outage in July
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2022_Roge ... ons_outage
I'm having a bit of difficulty in parsing the free-verse poetry, but I think your argument is that it's best to have a bit of cash "just in case". I can't agree with the argument that Canada's payment systems are more advanced than many other countries, credit card payments still take days to fully process, real-time debit card payments exist in most other countries and have done for many decades.

The "just in case" part is just as valid here as in other countries, and I don't carry cash here. Here I'd just head to an ATM on the rare occasion I needed cash, why not take the same approach when travelling to Vegas or Paris, and hopefully save the costs of buying small quantities of multiple currencies?
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Dec 20, 2018
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jdelarunz wrote: I'm having a bit of difficulty in parsing the free-verse poetry, but I think your argument is that it's best to have a bit of cash "just in case". I can't agree with the argument that Canada's payment systems are more advanced than many other countries, credit card payments still take days to fully process, real-time debit card payments exist in most other countries and have done for many decades.

The "just in case" part is just as valid here as in other countries, and I don't carry cash here. Here I'd just head to an ATM on the rare occasion I needed cash, why not take the same approach when travelling to Vegas or Paris, and hopefully save the costs of buying small quantities of multiple currencies?
We're so far ahead of places like Japan, and financial centre like Hong Kong and much of Europe really. And way ahead of the US..

We are pretty advanced.

China is more ahead but I think that's more of CCP wanting more oversight.
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Jan 9, 2011
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Vancouver
PointsHubby wrote: Cuz of Canada’s uniquely structured Banking System … and the INTERAC System
We enjoy one of the safest banking systems in the world
That truly does function IN REAL TIME
Well the Interac system does. But the rest of the banking system sure as heck doesn't. Make an online bill payment or bank-to-bank electronic funds transfer (EFT), and it can take 2-3 business days. That is outrageous in 2023. It should not take days, hours, or even minutes. It should take seconds, like Interac does. The reason it still takes days is that the EFT is nothing more than a front end to the paper cheque-based clearing system from the mid-20th century that STILL forms the back end of it. It requires processing by humans who take nights and weekends off. In 1998 (when debit cards and instant money transfers from my bank account had become widespread) I never would have predicted that the antiquated cheque-clearing system would STILL be in use for other electronic payments 25 years later, with no end to it in sight. Is it still going to be with us in 2048? God help us.

Anyway, back on topic. There are parts of Europe that are still cash-heavy. Italy is one of the most cash-dependent developed countries in the world. In Austria and Hungary, most places I visited took credit cards, but there were many more cash-only establishments than I was used to here at home. RFDers have reported cashless visits to the UK recently. Sweden doesn't even know what cash is. Not sure about France.

I agree to have some cash with you as a backup. Even if everywhere you want to spend will take your credit card, you never know when the area you are visiting will have its Rogers moment and you can't pay with anything else.
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StatsGuy wrote: We're so far ahead of places like Japan, and financial centre like Hong Kong and much of Europe really. And way ahead of the US..

We are pretty advanced.

China is more ahead but I think that's more of CCP wanting more oversight.
Social credit scores give me the heebeejeebees
People here are complaining credit scores are discriminatory, wait till they get a Chinese implementation...

Cash is good for vendors that take it to avoid tax.
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Sep 3, 2005
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Vaughan
jdelarunz wrote: Every since the pandemic hit I've completely stopped using cash, I haven't made an ATM withdrawal in close to three years. That's viable in Canada, but is it viable elsewhere? I know that when I visited some European countries like Germany in the past there were a significant number of places which don't accept cards. Is that still the case?

This year I'll be visiting the US (Las Vegas), France and the UK. Any cashless experiences in those places?

Thanks :)
In the US you can get by with cards. I always carry a bit of cash, for shady looking places. I always bring my debit card as well, just in case i do need to pull out more cash. However, i would say the US is pretty much the same as here.

Not sure about the everywhere in the UK, but went i went to England to visit family, and literally everything was paid with a card. This was in 2008. I’m sure they’re good.

Not to sure about France. Germany is weird. I figured they would accept cards more. I went in 2014, and majority of restaurants only took cash, or a specific card that was german (it was a german type debit card, nothing to do with interac).

My advice is to always have some emergency cash for any country you visit. I always carry multiple credit cards, just in case one gets blocked. Same goes with debit cards. Keep all your options open. You don’t always have to use a combination of debit, credit, and cash, but its nice to have all three just in case.
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YHM
I bring cash mainly for small purchases and to tip the drivers, tour guides, and housekeepers.

The main tourist spots in Italy all accept credit cards. Most simply require a tap; no need to enter your chip.
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Nov 13, 2010
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Using your cards everywhere in other countries may get you dinged conversion, foreign transactions fees etc…..

Always best to have cash for taxis, restaurants, food stalls etc. cash is king in most of the countries still.
For those with dual nationality and visiting backhome, easier to have local account there, transfer money to it and use it. Less hassle than having a card rejected etc for undue reasons.
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Dec 20, 2004
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Cash was dead in a lot of places even pre-pandemic. In regards to your example, I spent a month in Germany last year and rarely if ever used cash - definitely could have survived without any, but having a few euros on you never hurts.
[OP]
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Nov 6, 2022
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Québec
apnayloags wrote: Using your cards everywhere in other countries may get you dinged conversion, foreign transactions fees etc…..

Always best to have cash for taxis, restaurants, food stalls etc. cash is king in most of the countries still.
For those with dual nationality and visiting backhome, easier to have local account there, transfer money to it and use it. Less hassle than having a card rejected etc for undue reasons.
I've got accounts with Wise along with their Visa debit card, and I hold balances in CAD, USD, EUR and GBP, so I won't get hit by FX fees in most instances. The exception will be for car rental, but you can't pay cash for that anyway, you have to use a credit card.
gei wrote: Cash was dead in a lot of places even pre-pandemic. In regards to your example, I spent a month in Germany last year and rarely if ever used cash - definitely could have survived without any, but having a few euros on you never hurts.
I think this is the attitude I'm going to take. I think that the UK should be OK without cash, my biggest worry is France. I'll probably get some Euros but not GBP unless I'm forced to, in which case I'll cough up for an ATM withdrawal.

Many thanks for the replies so far :)
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Jul 7, 2019
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Oilers Country
jdelarunz wrote: Every since the pandemic hit I've completely stopped using cash, I haven't made an ATM withdrawal in close to three years. That's viable in Canada, but is it viable elsewhere? I know that when I visited some European countries like Germany in the past there were a significant number of places which don't accept cards. Is that still the case?

This year I'll be visiting the US (Las Vegas), France and the UK. Any cashless experiences in those places?

Thanks :)
In recent years we haven't gone to the U.S. with more than a handful of cash (maybe $10 or $20). We've navigated perfectly well with just Visa or (usually) MasterCard.

We were in France and Germany (among other places) early last year. Paid for virtually everything with MasterCard.

And we visited the UK (Northern Ireland, Wales, London) in September and again it was almost 100% MasterCard.

The pandemic has accelerated the trend to cashless societies, at least in North America and Europe. For health reasons a ton of businesses started openly preferring plastic payment and now it seems ingrained. In a lot of places (even in Canada) it's become harder to use cash--look at the number of self-checkouts, transit ticket machines and the like that only accept plastic.
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There's still places that will only accept cash but the pandemic definitely has sped up adoption of cashless payments.

Since the reopenings, I've traveled to Hawaii, Iceland, Italy, Egypt and Peru and only Peru/Egypt I'd say had a large % of transactions in cash still; there's markets and a couple stalls that required cash but overall it was more the exception then the rule, almost every restaurant and store in the cities took card.
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Sep 17, 2022
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TravellingChris wrote:

We were in France and Germany (among other places) early last year. Paid for virtually everything with MasterCard.

Hi, I am going to France in spring. Was this true also in smaller cities beyond Paris? I am also going to Lyon, Bordeaux, and a couple of smaller ones in southwestern France.

Surprised you said Germany is now accepting card more. I had to work in the Munich area around 5 years ago, and it was aggravating how many places were cash only. Explanation I got was Germans are paranoid about privacy and government monitoring, so that's why cards are not as culturally used for spending.
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It's now 50/50 in Manila, mainly cash for transportation and tips.

I was shocked, not only I can use my credit card at Jollibee but as well as Apple/Google pay. They didn't even know I just noticed their payment system. LOL


I hate cash, i gain nothing.

Covid forced companies to advanced.
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Aug 19, 2015
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Ajax, ON
jdelarunz wrote: Every since the pandemic hit I've completely stopped using cash, I haven't made an ATM withdrawal in close to three years. That's viable in Canada, but is it viable elsewhere? I know that when I visited some European countries like Germany in the past there were a significant number of places which don't accept cards. Is that still the case?

This year I'll be visiting the US (Las Vegas), France and the UK. Any cashless experiences in those places?

Thanks :)
Always keep cash on you. This whole "digital" currency is BS. Remember that Rogers outage across Canada that took out VISA, some banks, ATMs, Gas stations?

Yea, cash is needed 100%
Sr. Member
Mar 8, 2004
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Kanata
Western Europe I think you are mostly good without cash if you so choose. But you won't be able to make purchases at local markets....this is the one place I needed cash in Spain and France.

Other places that are less developed like SE Asia, you are going to need cash. Unless you avoid local transportation, eating at markets, etc.

Is going with cash doable? Probably, but what's the point in traveling to these places and going to only credit card places?
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Jul 7, 2019
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perkpoli wrote: Hi, I am going to France in spring. Was this true also in smaller cities beyond Paris? I am also going to Lyon, Bordeaux, and a couple of smaller ones in southwestern France.

Surprised you said Germany is now accepting card more. I had to work in the Munich area around 5 years ago, and it was aggravating how many places were cash only. Explanation I got was Germans are paranoid about privacy and government monitoring, so that's why cards are not as culturally used for spending.
We were actually not in Paris during our trip, so in our experience there is wide card acceptance beyond the capital.

I think the pandemic changed a lot of people's behaviour in Germany in terms of payment. We even found that restaurants (which had been cash-only during previous trips) were now preferring the use of plastic. To be fair, we did stick to businesses in larger towns. It wasn't like we were visiting markets or homestays in small villages.

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