There’s an interesting story this week in the Minneapolis Star Tribune about how Minneapolis-St. Paul Airport is having trouble finding banks that want to provide ATMs for the travelers there.
It seems that U.S. Bank, which had provided most of the ATMs at MSP, didn’t want to renew a long-term contract because it was losing too much money on the devices.
And that got us thinking: Do frequent travelers really need to carry cash any more?
For years, companies have been urging employees to charge as many of their travel expenses as possible on corporate credit cards for ease of expense reporting and reimbursing. (Otherwise, business travelers are always eager to rack up charges on their personal airline or hotel-affiliated credit cards to top off their mileage/points.) And now some companies are starting to integrate Bitcoin transactions into their plans and policies as well.
For smaller transactions, plenty of new payment options are now in use. Summoning an Uber ride? Payment (including tip) is handled entirely in the app. Got a new iPhone or Apple Watch? Apple Pay eliminates the need to carry credit cards with you, much less cash. And Apple Pay has spawned a new generation of e-pay imitators. The deployment of Bluetooth technology can make payment for all kinds of things, including local transportation systems, as easy as holding your wallet near a reader device.
About the only place it would be tough to leave a tip in local currency would be the hotel bellman…but I’m sure someone will figure out a way to do that with a smart phone one day soon.
A report on CNN last month noted that Europe is well ahead of the U.S. in transitioning to a cashless society. It said residents of the Scandinavian countries of Sweden, Denmark and Norway use cash for fewer than six percent of all payments, vs. 47 percent in the U.S.
What’s your story, readers? When you travel, what do you still pay for with cash? Do you have any worries or security concerns about traveling completely cashless with the help of new technologies? Post comments below.
NOTE: Be sure to click here to see all recent TravelSkills posts about: Upgrades on United + TripAdvsior punked + Hotel resort fees okayed + Pay to join loyalty programs? + More!