Why using a card is better than cash

Cash, undoubtedly, is still the preferred mode of transaction among many people across the globe. It is estimated that up to 90% – 98% of personal consumption expenditure (PCE)- depending on where you live in the world is by cash. This, on many fronts, is understandable when you consider the history of legal tender.

We believe cash has always been accepted and will continue to be for value exchange purposes. Cash is simple to use, usually requiring no electronic infrastructure and will always work. Why people would therefore have more trust and loyalty in cash, especially in emerging economies such as ours is justifiable.

As technology continues to evolve, the perks of card and electronic payments are beginning to eclipse that of cash. Although the use of cash may never cease completely, it does not hurt to upgrade to safer, more convenient payment options. If you have ever been torn between using cash or a card, be it debit, credit or prepaid, as a method of payment then this article will help you in taking a good decision. In this article, I present six compelling reasons why making payments with  a card is safer and better than doing so with cash.


Carrying cash can be a very uncomfortable and risky business. It is one thing if you are carrying a small amount of notes and coins for low value  expenses and purchases at places where there is no and/or low card acceptance. For a large purchase – buying  a TV, Fridge, phone, car  or airline ticket for example, it’s not only inconvenient to carry a large amount of cash, but it is   unsafe. Once cash is lost or stolen, it is gone forever and there is nothing that can be done. Losing a significant amount of money this way can be financially devastating, but if you lose a credit card or debit card, you just contact your  bank immediately to suspend the card, safeguarding the funds in your account.

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Again, imagine taking out a large, conspicuous wallet or fumbling through wads of cash every time you make a payment. Not only is it cumbersome but the jingling of metal and the rustling of paper makes you an attractive target for watchful thieves. Payments cards, on the other hand, offer a more convenient and discreet way to, make  large payments  quickly and unnoticeably.

Traceable Records

Unlike cash, all card payments have electronic  records, allowing the Cardholder  to monitor his/her expenses either via SMS and/or email alerts, bank statements and mobile app from the bank. This characteristic of cards pays off when you need to do reconciliations with your physical receipts. When an authorized transaction is spotted, it can be charged back to your bank. Card payments enable personal financial management capabilities, allowing modelling and grouping of your expenses making it easier to track and control your expenses.

Card  is replaceable, cash isn’t

Another advantage payment cards have over cash is their replacement benefit. Due to its anonymous nature, if you lose your cash, it is gone forever. Payment cards, on the other hand, can be stopped and delinked from your account  and replaced quickly  and remotely. If your bank offers emergency card replacement then in the shortest period, usually within 48 hours, depending on where you are in the world, access to your funds again is assured.

Benefits for Travelers

For the frequent travelers, certain payment cards offer travel insurance that covers personal accidents, medical expenses, emergency evacuation, lost luggage, travel delays or cancellation and purchase protection and extended warranty on items paid with your card. Check with your bank to find out what their product  offering is with travel insurance and access to airport lounges so that you can travel with peace of mind knowing that if there are challenges  you are covered. Carrying cash when you travel does not offer you such benefits and you attract suspicious looks.

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Some hotels, car rentals and airlines do limit cash payments because of KYC/AML requirements which create inconvenience for you and therefore having a payment card is appropriate as it is wildly accepted everywhere and anytime. There are a lot of rewards and status benefits linked to card payments which are not associated with cash payments. By just using your card for everyday purchases of goods and services, you benefit from rewards offering you great value at no extra cost.

Protection from fraud

Card payment offers  protection against online (web) fraud by receiving a unique one-time-password to complete the transaction. This  instantly protects your account from suspicious purchases. If your card is used fraudulently, notify your bank immediately  to suspend the card. Doing so means you prevent further fraudulent transactions while they issue  a new card for you and chargeback the suspected fraudulent transactions. This also provides you with the mechanism to receive alerts for all transactions happening on your debit or credit card account.

Naturally, accidents can’t be avoided entirely, which is why banks have measures in place to minimize the damage. If you think your card is lost or stolen, notify your bank immediately so they can take the appropriate next steps to secure your money!

In conclusion, Card and Electronic payments would continue to grow exponentially than cash (transaction growth on the decline) and with the advancement in technology and the benefits it brings to Cardholders, Banks, Businesses, Governments and the economy, it would be the way to go for financial inclusion .  Ask your bank for a payment card today and enjoy spending in stores and online. Your payment card is more than an ATM card.

The writer is the Head, Card and Payment Solutions, Stanbic Bank

Email: odarteyn@stanbic.com.gh

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