Cheyenne Roche: Why are we clinging to cash?

Aug. 24—Yesterday, we helped disseminate that Creston Community School District is going cashless this year for admission to activities, starting at the first home football game tomorrow.

The consensus on social media was not positive. "Ridiculous," and "Not a fan," were responses to the idea.

Though we are more of an old school, agricultural community, it's time for us to catch up with the times.

Vanco Payments reports non-cash payments are rising in the United States, with overall non-cash transactions increasing more than 50% in the past decade. According to McKinsey & Company research, the number of Americans using online payments with vendors increased from 72% in 2016 to 82% in 2021.

One of the comments asked, "What if you have a grandparent that just wants to use cash? Or what if someone doesn't have a credit card or debit card?"

Another said, "Too bad they don't care about the older generation that don't use credit or debit cards."

According to Forbes, in the U.S., 82% of people are reported to have a debit card with half of Americans having at least two. That alone shows the narrow field of affected people.

Let's say we're talking about the 18% of people who do not have a debit or credit card. If it were to be a grandparent like stated in the comment, I'd hope family would spot the grandparent at the gate by purchasing their ticket with a card.

If not, activities passes are able to be purchased with cash or check at the high school office. The pass costs only $35, less than the cost of attending six high school events.

People worry about the older generation having to adapt but forget that another generation has been adapting for years. I almost never have cash on me and have paid for it (no pun intended) when I attend an event that only accepts cash.

But I don't cause a fuss, I just mentally berate myself for not looking it up ahead of time. It's not difficult for me to get cash, I just don't carry it. That's my decision and my fault if I end up in a cash-only situation.

I'd like to see my cash-only people take the same mentality. It is not difficult to get a debit card. We have many great banks and bankers in town that could get you hooked up with one quickly. If you see the simplicity of having a debit card and choose not to have one, that's your decision. Like me, you will have to take ownership of the consequences.

There are numerous benefits to children, parents and the school district in going cashless.

Schools manage numerous revenue streams and cashless payments make every dollar trackable and able to be accounted for. This process allows for transparency into financial data.

The Association of Certified Fraud Examiners reports occupational fraud, including embezzlement, to cost the educational industry more than $70 million per year.

Cash larceny accounts for 19%. It occurs when someone, during an incoming transaction such as receiving payments in a cafeteria, takes money. "Cash on hand," also 19%, involves pilfering from a petty cash fund or money in a vault.

Creston Activities Director Scott Driskell said on a football night, they would have $6,000 to $10,000 pass through 12-14 hands depending on how many people are working. While I'm not aware of any fraud that has happened, it's a weight off their backs to eliminate the risk.

In addition to the security benefit, public schools are devastatingly short staffed. Managing cash is more time consuming and requires more steps than cashless payments. Taking any unnecessary tasks off our administration and staff is vital to allow them to spend their time more effectively.

It comes down to what so many of us struggle with — change. But this isn't as big of a change as you'd think. Dynata research shows the worldwide preference for cash is only 15%. On top of that, as of last year, 86% of point-of-sale transactions are made with either a card or digital wallet.

I'm curious how many people responding negatively to this change actually don't have a debit or credit card. I think the change sounds scarier than it actually is.

Let's not make this about us. It's about the kids and the work they put in for these activities.