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Will That Be Cash or Card?


Knowing when to use cash or a card can be a stressful situation for people. That’s why we’re here! To help you decide which option is best in certain scenarios.

Opt for Cash When…

  1. You have an emergency: Cash is accepted everywhere which is why it is good to have some on hand in case of an emergency. It is a good idea to keep a small amount of cash in your purse, car, or backpack in case you ever forget your wallet or technology malfunctions.
  2. You want to build a safety net: Having cash saved in case an unexpected expense comes up is always a smart idea! Financial experts recommend having around $500 cash on hand and easily accessible as an emergency fund so that you can have peace of mind.
  3. You want to limit your spending: Psychological studies have found that you are less likely to spend money when you are paying with cash. Physically seeing your hard-earned money leave your hands may trigger you to slow down your sending.
  4. You are budgeting: It’s a great idea to set a budget with cash before making purchases. When you run out of cash, you have no more money to spend. When you use a debit card, you may end up spending more than initially planned. This can result in a negative balance and/or penalty fees. Similarly, a credit card will allow you to spend more than you have based on your credit balance… and then charge you interest.
  5. You want a deeper connection with the items you are purchasing: Studies have found that when individuals use cash rather than a card to buy an item, they are more likely to feel a stronger emotional attachment to the item they purchase.
  6. Making smaller purchases: Many stores have card minimums for smaller purchases to encourage the use of cash and avoid card processing fees. While not every store has a minimum card requirement, it is always helpful to have some cash on hand… just in case!

Use a Debit Card If…

  1. You want to avoid getting into debt: Your debit card is connected to your checking account which means you are spending the money you currently have. In addition, with a MyLife Checking Account, members are eligible for overdraft protection and privilege. Meaning you are covered if you overdraw your account in an emergency.
  2. You want convenience: A debit card makes it extremely convenient to pay for everyday purchases without keeping cash with you. You can also connect your debit card to a mobile wallet – such as Apple Pay, Google Pay, and Samsung Pay for an added convenience.
  3. You want to stay organized: When using cash, it is easy to forget the smaller purchases that you bought since there is no digital footprint or tracking mechanism. When using a card such as a MyLife Checking debit card you can set up custom alerts about your debit card activity sent directly to you. In addition, you are able to monitor your activity via online or mobile banking. Having all your purchases organized in one place helps you keep track of how much you are spending and what you're spending money on.
  4. You want to keep your money safe: When carrying cash, there is always the fear of losing, misplacing, or theft. If this happens to your card, you can freeze, cancel, and request a new card in an instant through online or mobile banking. In addition, with a MyLife Checking Account, your funds are federally insured by the NCUA up to $250,000 so you can feel secure.

Learn more about MyLife Checking