Cash divide

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The 1990s had a cash divide. A number of years ago in college, I wrote an essay about the role of technology exclusion in society. This internet as a thing was only really starting to get going and we had just changed over the web browsers at the college from Mosiac to Netscape.

I used to surf the web in 16 shades of grey available on my battered PowerBook 165, when I jacked into the JANET network. Why am I rambling about a geriatric computer and the ‘net before Google?

Well, I used the web to research my essay and came across an article on the Washington Post about the cash divide discussing a ‘cash ghetto’, increasingly if you had to deal in cash you were on the margins of society. Part of this was down to the laundering of money from organised crime, including the drug cartels. It made sense to move as many people as possible out of the cash economy, but it created a cash divide. The cash divide separated illegal migrants from citizens; criminals from law abiding citizens.

An article in the Arizona Daily Star, which my RSS feed aggregator picked up talked about the pervasive nature of Visa and MasterCard where cash was once king reminded me of the college essay.

Visa and Mastercard have moved in alongside cheque cashing services and remittance businesses to bridge the cash divide profitably. Poor people tend to pay more charges than richer members of society.

You don’t even need to have a credit record or a banking account. There are ways to provide pre-loaded credit cards in the US to bridge the cash divide. From intern payments to staff bonuses can be provided on cards form Visa, Mastercard and even American Express.  Interesting reading check it out. More finance related posts here.