It’s great for buying street food.
It’s also nice – though not entirely necessary – for splitting drink tabs with friends.
And, I guess, it's great for folks who lack basic money management skills - you can only spend what you have.
That’s about it.
Security – If you lose your wallet, every bill inside of it is lost forever. There’s even a beguiling “good Samaritan” etiquette that proclaims that the returner of a wallet, despite doing a "good deed" by reuniting it with its rightful owner, is permitted to retain the cash. I think it’s ludicrous practice – “hey, buddy, I’m gonna do the right thing and give you your wallet back. But first, I’m gonna go ahead and help myself to its contents. Like any good person would.” That's how little you are the owner of your cash.
Dirty – you don’t have to ever work as a bank teller to suspect how disgusting money is.
I, however, did work as a teller and, as a result, I know just how disgusting money is. You know that haggard-looking creepy man who’s wearing the same clothes from two days ago and wiping his nose on his sleeve? Yeah, he deposited a $10 bill into his account JUST before you withdrew one from yours. I know, because I was the teller on both of your transactions. Think it doesn't happen? Think again.
Brick and Mortar only – Oh, look at those great clearance shoes from our favorite retailer - online only! Oh, and check that out – tickets to our favorite band just went on sale! I’m going to buy them! But you can’t. Because you only have cash.
How much will you need? Who knows? Might as well take out $100 – maybe $200 – and just see where the night takes us! Yippy. And when we wake up tomorrow morning, we’ll just try to piece together where it all went…
Where did all your money go? – who knows?! Not you. I know where mine went because I used a card and can track all of it online! Neat, huh? It’s how the future will work. Until you join us there, you can spend your time racking your brain trying to recall whether your part of the tab last night was sixty dollars or eighty. And assuming you must have taken another cab in there at some point, because you’re still forty dollars short.
But hey – at least you got a hot dog from the street vendor.
That you do recall.