Posts Tagged ‘credit cards’

How Much Cash do Americans Keep on Hand?

Thursday, March 5th, 2009

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What’s in your pocket?


Americans are losing faith in banks, period. That goes without saying and no explanation is needed. We all know this. The stock market is falling; banks are going down and receiving money just to keep themselves afloat. What is the average American doing? They are stashing their cash or carrying it with them! In the past year, since gas prices started skyrocketing, Americans have started looking twice at their bank accounts and getting nervous. Even then there was talk of there being a recession. People started withdrawing their money in a frenzy and selling their stocks, starting to stash it at home and carrying large amounts in their wallets. So how much money do Americans carry in their wallets, and how much money is stashed in American homes?

The amount of cash Americans carry on their person is directly affected by the area of the country they live in. People in New York and Los Angeles are going to carry way more money than someone who lives in a smaller town like Lorain, Ohio or El Paso, Texas. Since the cost of living is so different, the cash one carries for basic necessities would be much higher in New York City and way lower in Lorain, Ohio. The demographics on carrying money look like this:
The average purse or wallet in the United States contains about $104.

13% of Americans use a piggy bank.

28% of Americans have a coin jar.

15% if people in the U.S. have a large amount of cash hidden in their houses. Out of these people, half of them have it hidden and the other half hide it in plain sight.

1/3 of Americans keep a small amount of cash on hand for emergencies.

Finally, more than 50% of American’s don’t keep any cash at all in the house.

American’s carry cash so they don’t have to use credit cards, foregoing the interest usually incurred in that way. People carry cash because they don’t trust the banks and they haven’t been able to trust banks for at least a year or more. Some carry cash because that’s what they’ve always done and that’s what they were taught to do. Sure a lot of people go into a bank or through the drive through to cash their paychecks, in return getting their cash for no extra fees. What about those who don’t go to the bank and whose checks are automatically deposited? These people will usually hit up the ATM. It’s difficult if possible at all to not incur a fee when using the ATM so this way of obtaining your cash is costing you money. Is the tradeoff worth it?

Some might argue that we’re becoming a no cash society; using less cash and more and more debit and credit cards. I wonder if these people have taken a look at the economy lately because I think we may be going back to using as little plastic as possible.

Wallet Phones

Wednesday, December 24th, 2008

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wallet phoneWhat’s your idea of a bad day? Imagine leaving home without your wallet or purse? Does this sound like the makings for a very bad day? If it does, perhaps you should read on to discover why things might not really be as bad as they sound.

A Japanese company called “DoCoMo” has created “wallet phones” and is now actively marketing them throughout Japan. These actual cell phones are the size of a credit card and are fitted with a special computer chip which allows users to not only use the phone for things we’d ordinarily use one for, but all allows them to pay for things using their cell phone. Wallet Phones can currently be used just like credit and debit cards all over Japan to withdraw cash from automatic teller machines, pay for purchases in stores and restaurants, vending machines and arcades. It is anticipated that in the near future, owners will be able to check in with their airlines, pay for train rides, rent videos, and even have their office keys built into their cell phones.  Drivers license information could be encrypted into the chip on the phone.While the technology has not quite made it into the United States just yet, it is expected to do so shortly. Wallet phones will be able to be used the same way as a debit cards and can hold more than one credit card. The functionality will provide owners with an easy and convenient way to organize their lives including their financial information at the palm of their hands.

Many people already rely heavily upon their SmartPhones as a way of maintaining their emails, calendars, contact information, to-do lists, appointment setting, photos, music, and of course phone calls. The new wallet phone will take it a step further to allow everything to be incorporated into one simple machine which fits in the palm of your hand, therefore eliminating the need to carry a separate wallet. Now, about getting that tube of lipstick to fit in the cell phone, you’re on your own! In the meantime, look for a Wallet Phone coming to a store near you soon. That way, instead of worrying whether you forgot your wallet or purse at home, you won’t want to leave home without your phone. But hey, look on the bright side, it’s one less thing to remember, right?

Remote Deposit Functionality

Wednesday, December 24th, 2008

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remote depositHave you ever been a few days away from pay day, short on cash, but needing to buy something? We’ve all been there. And face it, most people have done what has been coined as “floating a check” at some point in their lives. You know what I’m talking about; with little to no money in your checking account, you write a check for the amount of your purchase knowing it will take a few days for the merchant to cash the check and the check to make its way from the merchant’s bank to your bank and come out of your account. While risky, this action has made it possible for many Americans to make it from paycheck to paycheck with the things they need. However, thanks to a new technology called “remote deposit” the days of “floating checks” may soon, if not already, be over.

Previously, merchants accepted checks in their store and made daily or weekly deposits at the bank by manually grouping all checks received and calculating the deposit. They then drove to the bank where a teller would confirm the deposit and sometimes place a one to ten days hold on items to ensure they were processed as “clear”, or ensure that there were enough funds in the originators account to cover the amount of the check.  Merchants are unable to access any of the funds that have been placed on hold for the set amount of time. Sometimes it could take days for checks to travel from various banks around the country.

“Remote Deposit” is a technology which makes making bank deposits much easier and faster for merchants. In the store, clerks accept personal checks, business checks, and money orders from customers. They run each item through a small machine which scans the document and records a digital image of the front and back of the document. The image is then grouped and through the use of specially designed software, deposited into the store’s bank account through the Internet. The new technology makes it possible for merchants to access their money faster, eliminate trips to the bank, and makes handling checks much easier for merchants.

As we become a more globalized society, banks have begun to accommodate our lifestyles by providing us with technology that suits our needs quickly and efficiently. The new Remote Deposit technology makes it easier and faster for money to travel. With this technology, writing a check is now almost as fast as swiping a credit card through a terminal. Essentially, the two technologies work much in the same way. While the number of checks written each year in the United States is declining, due to the increased use of credit and debit cards, there are still over 40 billion checks written each year. This new “Remote Deposit” feature makes it easier and faster for these check transactions to take place. However, it also eliminates the time lapse in between the time a check is written and the time it is cashed, to allow for extra deposits to be made.

How Technology Affects Our Money

Monday, December 22nd, 2008

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money technologyToday’s modern technology offers us a multitude of money management methods. We are constantly offered easier ways to pay at stores and while not as numerous, several options are available with regards to how we receive our money. We’ve always been able to pay with cash and checks as well as several forms of plastic including credit and debit cards. But today, new technologies are available that make paying even easier.

Imagine being able to pay for goods and services with just the touch of your finger! A company called “Pay By Touch” has developed a scanner that is currently being used in hundreds of supermarkets throughout the country. Customers do not have to carry credit cards, cash, or checks with them because they are conveniently able to go through the check-out line, scan their finger print, enter a phone number and select a bank account or credit card to pay for their groceries with. Customers do have to complete a short enrollment process prior to being able to utilize the program. Upon enrolling, their unique fingerprint is scanned, and an encryption program converts it into forty unique points and keeps the information confidential. When the customer touches the special scanner, the forty points are recognized and the transaction can take place easily and quickly.

Another new “contactless” technology called “Blink” makes it possible for customers to simply wave a card within four inches of a reader and within a second or two, receive a tone or a beep when their payment is complete. Nothing exchanges hands with anyone and no signatures or pin codes are necessary. The technology works by a Radio Frequency IDentification (RFID) tag inside of the card. The tag contains information about its owner including account numbers and balances so that it can charge the correct account, similar to the way a debit card works. The cards contain the same security levels as a regular credit or debit card and special coding is used to scramble the customer’s information so it cannot be stolen. This new technology makes paying faster and easier by an estimated 53% in comparison to swiping a credit card and 63% faster than paying with cash. It has become popular with convenience stores and quick-serve restaurants as these stores aim to get customers in and out as quickly as possible.

Another way technology is affecting how we handle our money is in the ways in which we are paid. Today, most employers offer at least two forms of payment: Check or Direct Deposit. Another new technology gives yet a new option for payrolling employees, this is especially important in a nation where 12 to 15 million individuals still don’t have a bank account. Typically, employees who do not have a bank account are forced to go to a supermarket or check-cashing store to receive their pay. These stores usually charge a convenience fee for their services. In the 1990s however, Payroll Cards were invented. Similar in looks to a regular debit or credit card, these cards allow employers to send electronic signals to the cards which represent the amount of money the employee is supposed to receive. The card then works as a “pre-paid debit card”. Utilizing these cards are cheaper that issuing paper checks. It is also safer than a paper check because they are less likely to be lost or stolen and are easily replaced in the event of either of these options. In addition, employers are able to save money because they don’t have to pay for postage or other expenses associated with mailing paper checks to their employees.