I got a glimpse of what might be our future at the Jersey Shore.  A cashless society.  During my European vacation, paying by credit card was encouraged.  It was so easy.  One cashier didn't even balk when I asked if I could charge $1.42!

The beauty of credit cards being so welcomed was not having to estimate how much cash I might need.  Therefore, I avoided numerous ATM fees.  It was a "pay as I go" vacation with my Mastercard easily accepted everywhere.  Same for my sister's Visa.

What I really appreciated was how easy it was to pay a restaurant bill at the table.  The server brings the itemized check over.  I would tell him, "I'd like to pay for the pasta and sparkling water." 


He'd punch those amounts into his handheld credit card swiping device, turn the machine towards me, I'd insert my card, sign a receipt, and we'd be done!  My sister would then use her card at the table to pay for her meal.  No more counting foreign currency or taking turns paying bills.  We each paid our own share, every time.  Easy!

It seems the U.S. is lagging behind Europe when it comes to tableside restaurant payments.  Though some of the big chains are starting to accept cards at the table, the majority of servers are still taking our cards and processing them in another part of the restaurant.

While in Scandinavia, I really liked being able to keep my card with me at all times.  And there was something very liberating about going cashless.  With no coins to weigh me down, I would be in favor of a cashless society.

But then, I wonder, what happens if and when the technology fails?  Maybe I'm not ready to go completely digital yet.  What about you?

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