Digital Cash Will Starve the Homeless

What does Square, and the rise of similar digital-payment systems, mean for panhandling and busking?
Who carries that kind of cash around anymore? Photographer: Daniel Acker/Bloomberg

My neighborhood is a focal point for homeless-services organizations, which means that on any fine day, there will be homeless people sitting on the grassy areas. None of them are panhandlers. But yesterday, as I passed a group of homeless people, I realized that I wouldn't be able to give them money even if they asked for it, because I didn't have any cash. I almost never have any cash anymore. It used to be necessary for food trucks and taxis and so forth, but now they all take credit cards. Now we mostly just need cash to tip the occasional delivery person, and I leave that cash at home, in my husband's wallet.

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