For many older adults, cash is vitally important. Having some money in their purse, pocket, or wallet can help them feel calm, in control, and independent.
However, this can often lead to overpayment of services, and it can also be dangerous and harmful to your health.
Minimizing Risk of Contact
In this pandemic, we all need to keep contact with others, especially non-family members, to a minimum. Handing cash back and forth is an unnecessary risk that can be easily avoided by pre-paying or being billed later when not face-to-face.
Taking Advantage of Older Adults
For some, older adults and seniors can be seen as a target to swindle. There’s the story of the crew of yard workers who cheated older adults in their neighborhood out of $100,000 by over-charging for services or not ever providing the paid-for services. Older adults are often a target, especially if they have memory issues or dementia. When out of the house, they are more likely to be seen as a target if they are seen with significant amounts of cash on them. If they carry only a limited amount or no cash, they wouldn’t be as big of a target.
For those with memory issues, it can be common to lose either their wallet or purse or the money inside it. This can be stressful for the wallet holder and for the caretakers. In addition, older adults will occasionally overpay for services - paying $20 when $5 is customary.
The best defense against losing or misplacing cash or overpayments is to use cashless services. This not only limits an adult's need to carry cash, but it also delays the payment until later when there is less of a hurry or social pressure to pay quickly.
As management thinker Peter Drucker said, “You can’t manage what you can’t measure,” and that is especially true with money. By using cashless services, all your expenses will appear on your credit card and bank statements. These can be reviewed, categorized, and measured so future budgets can be established and spending planning can be done.
Some Cash is Okay
Of course, having some cash on hand is always nice, whether to give to a grandchild or to buy a cup of coffee, but it’s best to limit the amount.
At Onward, we thought long and hard about whether to accept cash for rides and for tips. Due to all of the risks listed above and to protect our riders, we built a system where we do not accept cash transactions. To use Onward, a customer puts a credit card on their account. At the end of the ride, the rider simply exits the car. We then look at the time and mileage of the ride and automatically charge the card on file when the ride ends.
After the ride, a rider can choose to add a tip through our app or by calling our Onward Concierge. We don’t encourage or accept cash and prefer riders leave it at home and keep themselves as safe as possible.