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Cash is King, but Will a Check Card Let You Travel like a Queen? (Part 1)

After a recent trip to Philadelphia I came home with a pocket full of cash. And it’s not because I didn’t indulge in the great shopping, dining, and museums that the City of Brotherly Love has to offer, it’s because everywhere I went accepted my check card.

I am frequently sans cash, relying on my check card for everyday purchases as probably most of my peers do. But following my mother’s advice to always travel with enough money for an emergency and an indulgence, I left with what I thought would be enough cash for the weekend.

I was pleasantly surprised to find that the e-Ticket counter at the train station accepted my check card for the purchase of my ticket to 30th Street Station. I was able to pay for the cab ride from 30th Street to Old City with a check card and avoid the awkward cash exchange through the dirty plastic seat divider in the taxi. The rest of the weekend went smoothly without cash until a final stop at Pat’s King of Steaks and an order of “Wiz – with” and no check cards. Indulgence.

The weekend got me thinking, can a cashless society really exist? Sure, you think you never have cash. Always go with plastic. But how far will the absence of dollar bills and coins really take you today? Around Philadelphia and the grocery store? Easy. How about to the Adirondacks and back? Let’s see.

My challenge is to travel six days to the ‘Dacks and back with one stash of Mom’s travel emergency cash, and electronic transactions paving the rest of the way.

I won’t be able to do this challenge without preparing first. To make sure I am utilizing all of my cashless society options, I reviewed my bank account setup online.

  1. Internet Banker – check
  2. Online Bill Pay – no
  3. Mobile Banking – no

From the Internet Banker homepage I added Online Bill Pay and requested a payment to be sent to my landlord for rent while I am gone. I also added alerts so the bank will notify me of my balance, debits, and credit through email and text message while I am traveling. This part was easy, but the rest of the challenge might not be so.

Will online services be enough to help me stay checked-in to my finances? Will a check card cut it from the touristy town of Lake George to the quieter Tupper Lake area?  I’ll let you know next time!

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Posted in Banking Basics.

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