Canada Commends 'Calming' Cash
Following a major network outage for Canadian telecom company Rogers Communications that left millions without mobile phone or internet access, The Globe and Mail says one easy way to ‘crisis-proof our lives and finances’ is to always carry cash.
In a column titled ‘We all just got schooled by Rogers on the importance of having cash on hand’, finance columnist Rob Carrick also points to a recent power outage in Ontario that stretched across several days following a May storm, which serves as a reminder that electricity and internet access cannot be taken for granted.
A question we should all ask ourselves right now: How do we crisis-proof our lives and our finances? One answer is obvious after both the blackout and Rogers: have some cash handy.
Carrick says that while cashless options offer many appealing features, the cost of these is that ‘they can be taken away in a flash.’ In the case of Rogers, many businesses were cut off from electronic networks, meaning the only transactions possible were cash-based.
Without cash in hand, you can be excluded from the economy in a crisis. Worse, the Rogers outage shows how the lack of cash is not an easily fixable problem in today’s world of interconnected electronic networks.
ATMs can also be rendered unusable by power and network outages, so Carrick recommends people consider keeping a minimum cash balance in their wallets, with extra stored securely at home. He points to a reader survey he conducted in March, with just over half of the 6,600 respondents saying they keep money at home, with the average amount being ‘an unexpectedly high $5,069’ (around €3,800 or USD).
Carrick concludes that, while cards and other cashless options offer valuable benefits, cash remains an essential backup system, and is a calming presence in turbulent times.
Cash is a calming factor in times like these, and it has other uses as well. You can’t help out someone on the street with a debit card or phone app, and tipping service people is easiest with cash, too.