Credit Card or Cash: Which To Use?


In its many thousands of history, society has had various forms and has evolved through different types and regimes, but one thing has always remained. This thing is money. Once people discovered barter, they invented money, which has undergone much change since then. It has transformed through shells, beads, and sticks into coins, notes, and eventually into plastic cards. Nowadays, people can choose between using cash and debit or credit cards, and there are benefits and disadvantages to both methods. Their differences, along with the pros and cons, deserve an objective analysis, which will be carried out in this paper.

Main body

As of now, people increasingly prefer paying by debit and credit cards to using cash. According to a recent survey (1), based on the data of UK retailers, total card spending accounted for about 80% of all sales in 2018. The same survey affirms (1), that debit card payments amounted to 57%, credit cards to 21%, while coins and notes have become the third preferred method of payment. On top of that, the numbers illustrate a steady decrease in the cash flow, from 28% in 2013 to 22% in 2017 and 20% in 2018 (1). Provided this degeneration of cash continues, we are anticipating a cashless society in the foreseeable future.

The specified tendency is nothing but the natural order of events due to the undeniable benefits of using a card as opposed to using cash. Irby (2) pointed out some of the most persuasive supporting arguments for credit cards. The main selling point is the convenience of card usage when a cardholder is rid of the necessity to carry around large amounts of cash and acquires the ability to make a purchase online. Credit cards also increase a person’s spending ability, providing additional purchasing power. The level of protection of a credit card is another compelling argument and can tip the scales for people with the experience of losing cash. Among other highlights are rewards that banks commonly provide to cardholders and a chance to build a good credit history.

On the other hand, cash also possesses a few positive aspects and may be favorable in some situations. Irby (2) states that, unlike a credit card, cash eliminates the possibility of overspending and provides an opportunity to purchase from cash-only merchants. Even more important is that coins and notes are better suited for different kinds of emergencies, including natural disasters. Roberts (3) recommends having a stash of emergency cash in case of situations involving the loss of electricity when banks and shops would resort to a cash-only policy.


All things considered, there are indisputable strengths along with disappointing weaknesses to both methods of payment. As for their limitations, credit cards are highly dependent on electricity and require considerable personal discipline, while cash is more vulnerable to theft. However, credit cards provide more purchasing opportunities and pleasant incentives from banks and retailers than cash. Summing up all the aspects of both payment methods mentioned above, it appears that paying by credit card is preferable to using cash simply because the amount of benefits exceeds those of cash. The number of situations when a credit card is more convenient also seems to leave cash far behind. Nevertheless, people tend to value different things, so it is better for everyone to select a payment method based on the aspects, which are essential to them.


  1. Jones R. Credit card spending overtakes cash for first time. The Guardian. 2019. Web.
  2. Irby L. Using a credit card vs cash. 2020. Web.
  3. Roberts A. Emergency cash stash. All current publications. Utah State University Extension. 2016. Web.
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