Here's When You Should Never Use Cash

Sure, credit might be destroying the fabric of society, but you can't beat it for convenience. This might feel especially true if you've ever felt a twinge of annoyance on learning that a business is cash-only. There are other reasons to pick plastic over paper, though — not least when you're talking about security.

Way back in the day, there was no single agreed-upon design or system for American currency. This sometimes meant you couldn't use banknotes in between states, which, not convenient. The universal acceptance of dollar bills and coins as legal tender within the United States is one of their greatest strengths, but it can also prove a major weakness. If you're looking to spend money in a way that offers you some insurance, credit or debit is absolutely the way to go.

If you're buying something digital, like media downloads or extra supplies for an online game, something you may need to return, or anything that you can't touch before you buy it, consider using plastic. That can include travel, deliveries, tickets, and anything with a warranty. Cash or prepaid cards don't offer the protections against fraud or insurance against last-minute changes of plans that credit card companies do. You are paying for that, in the form of fees, so you might as well get good use out of it. Some personal finance experts recommend a cash-only lifestyle as a kind of financial detox, but ultimately it's not really desirable or sustainable, if you have the choice.