Physical cash is king?

I thought we had the waterfront pretty well covered on this Finance board. We have threads on individual stocks, alternatives to CDs, liquid money accounts, CD accounts, and many more . . . . . and of course we have credit cards WELL covered. My memory is not what it once was. But I cannot recall another thread here devoted to physical cash. Moreover, to me physical cash has always been trash, an artifact left over from a bygone era, and this continues. Well, wrong as usual . . . apparently:

Today the rich elites are hoarding dirty, filthy, coronavirus laden, $100 bills!! What do these people know that I don’t know?

Physical cash is king?

In order for me to desire physical cash I would have to believe all my credit cards were gonna turn to dust . . . . poof . . . . the entire credit card industry magically disappears. I’ve not heard or seen anything at all pointing to that possibility!

Really have no clue whatsoever on this one. Maybe if I were richer I would understand. Or do you just have to live in a big city?

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Cash is king compared to money market accounts which may lose their $1.00 value.

Isnt “cash” generally considered to be checking and savings accounts? I really dont see anything to discuss about physical dollar bills, unless you start getting into collector item level detail.

I mean, are we really going to discuss the perfect mix of denominations to accumulate? Why it’s better to have 5 $20 bills than 1 $100 bill, because you can hide them 5 different places and minimize the risk of loosing it all in the event of a burglary or natural disaster?

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You’re right. I changed the title.

Physical hundred dollar bills, actually. Did you read the article?

And neither did I, really, except those wealthy people are doing what they’re doing . . . not me . . . and I don’t get it.

Crazy is as crazy does. It doesnt mean you’re missing anything. For the most part, I’d assume they’re just fearing a bank run as interest rates potentially drop to the negative, so they think they’re outsmarting everyone else by getting their money out while they can. I mean, your linked article doesnt even attribute this to the “rich elite”, it’s just a cross-section of everyday people.

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Because people are really, really stupid. They’re gonna eat their 100-dollar bills after they finish eating their toilet paper.

This virus is not great, but it’s not zombie apocalypse!

Although there is one pretty terrible scenario where cash could be king… bribing your way into an overwhelmed ICU.


It’s possible, scripta, that you have nailed it.

These people might be so rich that they can afford to use the Benjamins as toilet paper!

Also, I concede, a possibility.

Suggested by the above from scripta:

I did not consider in the OP under the table, less than honorable, possibly frankly illegal uses for physical cash. Such as that never even occurred to me. But perhaps it should have.

Paying a bribe with a credit card is more difficult, and more dangerous, than doing so with physical cash. Makes sense.

I just drew down every penny of my HELOC to have a few hundred extra grand extra cash.

The interest rate penalty is well worth the comfort of having the extra cash.

Financial institutions may go into survival mode. I think lenders are going to be rapidly slashing credit limits soon due to all the cash being drained out. HELOCs will be frozen and credit card limits will be slashed to $1,000. If you wait to take action it may be too late.


I am getting multiple emails from financial instiutions saying don’t be nervous and that makes me nervous. Suppose the credit card companies, banks and other financial companies can’t get their employees to come in. I could see credit card processing breaking down and banks closing their branches. In that case cash would come in handy. Or some of Shinobi’s silver dollars :smile:


I thought about that too, but decided that credit card processing is automated and most likely can be maintained remotely. We’ll be in real deep doo-doo if credit cards stop working. You don’t want to be a clerk at a grocery store if that happens.

I can see banks reducing business hours, and maybe even closing some branches strategically (there should be fewer customers anyway), but completely closing sounds unreal.

That silver dollar could be worth… a dollar. That’s why I prefer Maples, they’re worth $5 CAD!

Agreed. Only a fool would want to handle filthy paper money, customer after customer, right now. There’s not enough hand sanitizer in the world to make that OK.

China basically went away from cash years ago and any currency is being destroyed. I think they are still printing some though.

Here, take out has to be paid by credit or debit card now.

You don’t want to be a customer either. Clerks can’t count.

That’s what gloves are for … actually, I think they are more to remind you not to touch your face. That’s why you should rotate colors/style so that you don’t get too accustomed to them.

Just don’t imitate Michael Jackson. :smile:

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Much easier to keep track of your subjects.


I was implying looting and riots, not that cash is dirty.

I’ve heard at least twice now the suggestion of withdrawing funds from Helocs in case they slash things. Think I’ll play play it safe and cash some of that out as I usually don’t keep a very high liquid balance due to bills/investing. Keeping 2 mo of living expenses in cash right now might not be a bad idea.

I presume you mean in a liquid bank account, not physical cash that this thread is all about?

You’re not gonna send envelopes full of cash to your billers.


The matter of physical money, banknotes, has once again arisen within a pandemic context. I think we established up thread that benjamins are suitable principally for bribes and other illicit activity. But this AP story suggests that average people, i.e. those who are not crooks or scoundrels, are shunning banknotes big time!:

Pandemic gives new meaning to term “filthy lucre”

Do you want to have, in your pocket, purse, or wallet, a hundred dollar bill recently repatriated from Italy? The article address that very matter.