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Is Cash No Longer Legal Tender? 719

An anonymous reader asks: "I attend the University of Illinois at Chicago. Last semester my housing arrangements went smoothly. I put down my application fee, and my deposit just fine, got a room for the semester and life went on. This semester, because there was supposedly a large number of students who did not check into their rooms last semester, we were required to make a $100 prepayment, in addition to the application fee and deposit. No problem, I think, I see the university is trying to make a quick buck off people who don't follow through with their plans. Now I do NOT have a checking account, a credit card, or anything. I don't trust the banks, or the credit card companies, so I am one of the few people who do EVERYTHING in cash. However, they refused to take the cash. Is it legal for a state-owned university, let alone any business to not take legal tender?"
The housing department also will not charge my university account (so I can pay the bursar or whoever I need to) in cash, and they want a check or money order. Nowhere in their letter did they say that. I fear out of technicality I am going to loose my housing since I cannot get them their money on time because they do not take cash.

What can I do?"
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Is Cash No Longer Legal Tender?

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  • In some cases.... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Atlantis-Rising ( 857278 ) on Wednesday June 20, 2007 @02:43AM (#19575447) Homepage
    My understanding of the issue, although I do not specialize in this kind of law, is that your cash must be accepted for everything for which the good or service has already been provided; they are not required to accept it when you are making a payment for something you are to receive in the future.
    • by Endymion ( 12816 )
      to add to those thoughts:

      I believe I've heard somewhere the theory of "Ok, yes, we have to take the cash, but I also don't have to make change for you." This may make it highly annoying to use cash in some situations.
      • by SharpFang ( 651121 ) on Wednesday June 20, 2007 @05:23AM (#19576315) Homepage Journal
        Then bring them the requested amount (+-3%) in pennies. "I can be an asshole too, sir."
        • Re:In some cases.... (Score:4, Interesting)

          by zootm ( 850416 ) on Wednesday June 20, 2007 @07:47AM (#19577171)

          Then bring them the requested amount (+-3%) in pennies. "I can be an asshole too, sir."

          I don't know if that's legal in the US, but here (Scotland) one can refuse cash payment if the amount of change given is unreasonable. I think there might even be a legal definition of what "reasonable" is.

        • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 20, 2007 @09:01AM (#19577993)
          Posting anon, for obvious reasons.

          Back in the day, we had a pissed off taxpayer and his wife bring in several thousand dollars in pennies. At the time, we had real teller functions in most cities and they took their money-handling chores seriously and by-the-book. All cash payments were *required* (no exceptions) to be counted out twice in the presence of the person paying.

          The manager saw the situation, got approval to put a teller on overtime, and started counting. They stressed to the taxpayers that they *must* remain present during the count. This was fairly early in the morning. After a few hours, some things began to change. Everytime the taxpayer needed to go to the bathroom, the count had to stop and everyone left the room. No lunch. No breaks.

          Asshole taxpayer got bored. Then he got tired and cranky. Then he and his wife got into it. A screaming match ensued with the wife berating her husband for his stupid idea. "Yeah, you really showed them, didn't you?!" By that evening, she ripped the car keys out of his hand and left, telling him he could get a cab home. This was in a large, non-compact city with poor public transport and, at the time, only a shell of a taxi system. Telling him to catch a cab home was the equivalent of telling him to burn in hell.

          Around midnight, the count finished. The jerk was shellshocked. He called a cab and proceeded to go stand out by the highway and wait for it. I don't know if it ever came.

          I feel certain, however, that Mr. Idiot never tried another stunt like that.
    • Re:In some cases.... (Score:5, Informative)

      by HaeMaker ( 221642 ) on Wednesday June 20, 2007 @03:00AM (#19575559) Homepage
      You are correct sir. See US Treasury site: tender.shtml []

      Only creditors have to take legal tender, so if you pay first, they can place restrictions on form of payment.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by milamber3 ( 173273 )
        The link you posted states that private companies may choose not to accept some forms of legal tender. I suspect it specifically mentions private business because publicly funded institutions, such as the school in question, are required to accept ALL forms of legal tender.
    • Whatever the amount of payment, I think that they are allowed to check your credit history. In particular, they are allowed to refuse to sign a long-term contract if you don't have any credit history. But I think that you're right, once you get past that (maybe by having someone back you up), they have to accept cash.

      IANAL, of course.

      I actually had the inverse problem some years ago. My landlord got burned by bounced checks (not from me), so he accepted nothing but cash. Every month, I had to go to the ATM
  • Wow... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ResQuad ( 243184 ) * <> on Wednesday June 20, 2007 @02:43AM (#19575453) Homepage
    Goto your postoffice, and get a cashiers check. Seriously. Not rocket science here.
    • by Endymion ( 12816 )
      one problem with this technique is most places charge some fee to make the money order/etc.

      It may not be a lot, but the $7 they hit me with once was a lot in the "no cash college days".
      • Re:Wow... (Score:4, Interesting)

        by ximenes ( 10 ) on Wednesday June 20, 2007 @03:00AM (#19575563)
        The post office charges the following amounts for postal money orders:

        $0.01 to $500.00 - $1.05
        $500.01 to $1,000.00 - 1.50

        which I'm sure can fit into anyone's budget. Although I guess if a person doesn't trust banks then why entrust your money to the government or quasi-government agencies.
        • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

          by Anonymous Coward

          Although I guess if a person doesn't trust banks then why entrust your money to the government or quasi-government agencies.
          Probably not the brightest idea to go to a state-owned university in that case either.
      • Re:Wow... (Score:5, Funny)

        by ajs318 ( 655362 ) <sd_resp2@earthsho[ ] ['d.c' in gap]> on Wednesday June 20, 2007 @06:58AM (#19576791)
        So, knock the transaction fee off whatever you pay them. This is what I used to do when paying bills at a post office that charge a transaction fee. If the bill was for £26, and they ended up getting only £24.50 due to the £1.50 transaction fee, that's their problem (and they aren't going to chase anybody up for a lousy quid fifty; it'll cost them more than that in ink just printing the address on the envelope). See how they like being charged a fee! If enough people do it, the system will change.

        By the way, when paying bills by means of a cheque in the post, never, ever put a stamp on the envelope. Just write "RECIPIENT TO PAY POSTAGE" on it. BT used to write "Royal Mail will not deliver unstamped items" in the "stamp" space on their envelopes. I used to write "Oh yes they will!"
        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by wiggles ( 30088 )
          Funny story, but in the US, if you try to pay a bill 'postage due' as we call it on this side of the pond, the creditor can refuse to pay the postage, and the letter gets returned to you, which means your bill is now late, and your credit rating gets damaged. Protecting your credit is worth a $.41 stamp.
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by mrchaotica ( 681592 ) *

          (and they aren't going to chase anybody up for a lousy quid fifty; it'll cost them more than that in ink just printing the address on the envelope)

          You forget that this is a public university. Not only are they petty enough to demand the buck fifty, but they'll put holds on his registration to do it! They don't have to go after him; he'll come crawling back when he can't register for classes.

          • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

            by Damvan ( 824570 )
            When I graduated college, they initially refused to give me my diploma because I had a CREDIT on their system of about $10. I had to wait 3 weeks for them to cut me a check for that $10, only then could I collect my actual paper diploma. I guarentee you that they would withhold that diploma/registration etc for a balance due of $1.50.
    • Re:Wow... (Score:5, Interesting)

      by sgant ( 178166 ) on Wednesday June 20, 2007 @03:22AM (#19575691) Homepage Journal
      For some reason, this guy doesn't trust banks and does everything in cash. What makes you think he's gonna trust the post office and all their new-fangled machines that do their witchery?

      I'm just saying...
    • Just to be clear, when you go to the post office, you are getting a Postal Money Order, not a cashier's check.

      That being said, your advice is indeed the most prudent course of action for the original poster.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 20, 2007 @02:43AM (#19575455)
    Petty point-scoring over the university aside, sooner or later you're going to have to
    • get a grown-up job that doesn't pay in cash
    • get a loan
    • get a mortgage
    You will need bank accounts down the line (and a credit score!) so why not get one now? Even if you leave it empty and top if up for special occasions like this.
    • by Valdrax ( 32670 ) on Wednesday June 20, 2007 @08:44AM (#19577715)
      The "grown up job that doesn't pay cash" is really the only big problem, but even then you can go to a check cashing place and pay an exorbitant rate to get your cash. I mean, you don't *have* to do direct deposit. Manage your expenses wisely, and you'll never need a loan or a mortgage.

      If you need a credit card equivalent, try PrivaCash. I heard about it on a privacy website. It's basically a pre-paid debit card that isn't tied to your name. You can pick up preloaded cards in stores, but if you want to reload them, you have to deal with the bank that backs them. You can't do things like rent cars or do other things where access to a debt source is used in the place of a deposit, but you can make purchases online.

      Really, though, unless you are planning on living completely off the record as much as possible once your stint in a university is done, go for a credit union. It's like a bank, only not evil (or at worst significantly less evil). Avoiding a bank is very, very hard in modern life. For more details about what you lose in terms of privacy and how to protect yourself to a limited extent, check out the book "How to be Invisible" by C.C. Luna.
      • by bilbravo ( 763359 ) on Wednesday June 20, 2007 @10:02AM (#19579089) Homepage
        Maybe I am naive, but how is being good with your finances going to get you out of a mortgage? Car loans, other loans, yes. Mortgage? I'm not sure how you get there. Unless you are born with a silver spoon in your mouth or someone gives you a house, you're going to need a loan to buy one. Unless you're going to save up and rent some place in the meantime, but my guess is renting something for the amount of time it's gonna take you to save $X thousand dollars is NOT BEING GOOD WITH FINANCES. Leasing is silly if your end goal is to own.
        • by Valdrax ( 32670 ) on Wednesday June 20, 2007 @11:10AM (#19580287)
          I'm of the philosophy that the home ownership race is just another rat race right now. The majority of the reason why two-income families in America today have less savings than single-income families of 50 years ago is that home prices have more than doubled since then (adjusted for inflation).

          I'll have no part of that for a few reasons:
          1. I live in the city. All the even close to affordable houses are well outside what I consider a reasonable commuting range.
          2. It's just plain cheaper to rent. Sure, I'm not storing up equity, but really neither are a lot of people on subprime mortgages. At least the money I'm saving is being put into investments.
          3. I predict that once the baby boomers get a decade into retirement (with no kids in the house and failing health) a lot of them are going to start moving out of houses; many of them will be moving into "assisted living" centers. Houses in areas near good schools are going to get a LOT cheaper in the next ten years. At that time, I'll reevaluate whether owning a home is a good thing or not, but unless you can solidly plan to put down roots for the next 30 years where you are right now, owning a home might be an unwise investment.
          Leasing is silly if your end goal is to own.

          So? What makes owning such a great goal to have in the first place? If your privacy or your paranoia is so important to you that you'd go through life without a bank account, then going without owning the house you live in isn't so bad in comparison.

          Frankly, I'm paying about 1/2 to 2/3 what I'd pay for a mortgage on a home or condo in my area. My insurance is significantly cheaper, and I wouldn't have enough deductions to qualify for a tax break anyway.

          Consider this wise or unwise as you wish, but I was able to live for half a year without a paycheck to go volunteer in the local election last year, and I had no fear of losing a place to live. I know that I'm fortunate to be in a very high income bracket due to my choice of careers, but I could get by comfortably with a third of my income because I live below my means.

          Home ownership is overrated, if you ask me.
          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by Damvan ( 824570 )
            My mortgage is about half what I'd pay in rent for an apartment in my area.

            Buying/owning a home isn't any more of a rat race than buying a car. Buying more home than you can afford is. Most people buy way more than they can afford.

          • by japhmi ( 225606 ) on Wednesday June 20, 2007 @01:41PM (#19583235)

            Frankly, I'm paying about 1/2 to 2/3 what I'd pay for a mortgage on a home or condo in my area. My insurance is significantly cheaper, and I wouldn't have enough deductions to qualify for a tax break anyway.

            Rents go up, mortgages don't. My dad is currently paying 1/4 to 1/3 for his mortgage what it would cost to rent a house in his neighborhood, and 1/2 what a small apartment would be. That's because he's owned the house for years.

            Mortgages are horrible at first, because they take up a large chunk of your money. After a while, you get raises and your mortgage stays the same. Checking out my old apartment, it's already gone up $200 since I moved out, and another $200 (maybe 2-4 years down the road), it will be equal with my mortgage.

            Yes, there are cases where it may be better to rent than own, but there are probably more cases where it makes more sense to own.
  • buy a money order. (Score:4, Informative)

    by the unbeliever ( 201915 ) <[moc.keeglta] [ta] [todhsals+sirhc]> on Wednesday June 20, 2007 @02:43AM (#19575457) Homepage
    Just go get a money order from the post office or even a convenience store.

    Doing everything in cash, imo, is sort of retarded. I don't particularly trust banks either, but when inconvenience impacts me regularly, I make concessions.
    • by KevMar ( 471257 )
      Money order is the way to go.

      They prabably find that cash dissapears too quickly or some administrative BS like that.

      Just ask them why whould they not take cash?. If they dont know, walk up the chain of command. someone should be able to come up with a valid reason other than its policy.

    • Money orders are indeed more smart. They provide a receipt. Ever have someone tell you that you didn't pay them, then you had to go and get the receipt to prove it to them? It does happen.
  • It's Your Choice (Score:5, Insightful)

    by TheWanderingHermit ( 513872 ) on Wednesday June 20, 2007 @02:51AM (#19575501)
    If you lose the room, it's your choice. I have a small business that makes good money helping people that are sued by credit card companies, so I know how nasty they can be, but on the other hand, if you watch what you're doing, you can keep your funds reasonably safe, at least, safer than what would happen if your cash were stolen. I've worked for businesses that refused to accept cash. One was when I was managing rental property. If they accepted cash, they would have had thousands of dollars in the office for the first few days each month and I would have had to take that cash to the bank, one block away, each day. I asked the same question you did and have had them (and a few other companies) explain that as long as they state the policy and apply it evenly to all, it's legal.

    These days credit is more and more important. If you don't have it, many places won't give you a chance to get it because you have no credit record. While I'd like to say I admire you for sticking to your beliefs, you're going to have to make a choice: you can stick by your position and lose your room or you can work out a compromise. If you elect to stay firmly in your position, I seriously doubt the University will be upset. It's a bit what Prosser said to Arthur Dent: "Do you have any idea how much damage that bulldozer would suffer if it were to run over you? None at all." They have nothing to lose here and you have everything to lose.

    Overall, not building up credit, learning to deal with banks and credit card companies, and staying on an all cash basis is unwise in this culture. If I stuck to that policy, my net worth would be much lower because I would not have had a credit rating that allowed me to borrow when I needed it so I could build up my business.

    While it's just my opinion, I can only wonder if a large part of your reluctance is more fear and unwillingness to understand how to use "the system" to your benefit and that you cover for this fear by claiming it is an ethical issue.
    • Re:It's Your Choice (Score:5, Informative)

      by nagora ( 177841 ) on Wednesday June 20, 2007 @03:56AM (#19575873)
      These days credit is more and more important. If you don't have it, many places won't give you a chance to get it because you have no credit record.

      The funny thing is, I don't want it. Credit is really just newspeak for "debt". The only debt I ever want to have, and I don't really want it very much, is a mortgage. Credit cards are useful occassionally - my fiancee and I use hers maybe three times a year - but I'd much rather use my debit card. Aside from anything else, my debit card doesn't pretend to be giving me something.

      As for borrowing: get a loan from a bank. Borrowing on a credit card is madness, interest-wise.


      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        You do realise that you can use a credit card as if it were a debit card? I do, works perfectly fine. At the end of the month, I pay what I owe them and it's all done. Just don't use credit cards for loans, as you say yourself. Us it as a convenience.

      • I perfectly agree. The only borrowed money I have at the moment is a ~£10k student loan, which has the interest rate matched exactly to inflation, and repayments are automatically taken out of my paycheck before I get it. I believe that I could choose to pay back more than I'm forced to if I wanted, but thanks to the stupid-low interest rate I actually earn money by keeping it and sticking it in a savings account.

        If I buy anything under a few grand I'll pay for it then and there instead of using store
      • Re:It's Your Choice (Score:5, Informative)

        by MrAngryForNoReason ( 711935 ) on Wednesday June 20, 2007 @05:43AM (#19576403)

        The only debt I ever want to have, and I don't really want it very much, is a mortgage

        The problem with this is that it can be very difficult to get a mortgage if you have no credit history. Unless you have borrowed money in the past and paid it back on time banks have no way to gauge whether you are likely to pay your mortgage. It is only by borrowing every increasing amounts of money and paying it back reliably that you can increase your credit rating.

        Just to add a bit of anecdotal evidence: My sister has never had a credit card or used an overdraft facility, she viewed this as being financially responsible. When she came to apply for a loan to cover a year studying abroad she was refused on the basis that she had no credit history.

        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by UbuntuDupe ( 970646 ) *
          Yes, I had the same experience when applying for a mortgage. Apparently, when they tell you that you need a solid history of honoring your obligations, they don't mean crap like rent, insurance, utilities, cable bill, etc. You have to have a credit card.

          Does it matter that I saved 1/3 of my gross for two years? Does it matter that I paid every bill on time for about three? Does it matter that the mortgage would be less than 1/6 of my gross even at a high interest rate? No, no, and no. I've even been t
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          I had the same experience: no credit history whatsoever, even though I owned a house outright and had another house-worth of money in stock. I managed to get a mortgage, but only because they A: called all the companies I paid bills to (utility, phone, car insurance) to check my payment history, and B: because I could buy the house outright if I wanted to, so they knew I was financially solvent. If either of those had come up short, no house for me.

          Having a credit history isn't a bad idea, unfortunately.
      • by Red Flayer ( 890720 ) on Wednesday June 20, 2007 @07:44AM (#19577147) Journal

        As for borrowing: get a loan from a bank. Borrowing on a credit card is madness, interest-wise.
        Not so, most credit card companies will not charge any interest on balances paid in full by their due date. Not paying your bill in full so that you are charged interest -- that's madness. Using a credit card as a short-term 0% loan -- that's free cash.

        Say you have $1500 worth of purchases every month that can be made via credit card. If you pay the credit cards off in full every month, you have the use of an extra $1500 at no cost until you need to pay your statement. You can make money off that $1500 if you want, say by purchasing a CD.

        Not borrowing, when you can easily get a return significantly higher than the interest you need to pay, is madness.
        • by Bourbon Man ( 76846 ) on Wednesday June 20, 2007 @09:17AM (#19578303) Homepage
          In addition, you can actually profit from the credit card company. Cash-back, airline miles, and other incentives are actually profit, as long as you pay your entire balance each month, and the card has no annual fees.

          You can also lose money by not having good credit. Many insurance companies use your credit score to adjust how high a premium you must pay. If you eventually need a loan and are able to get one, your interest will be substantially higher if you have bad or no credit. Certain jobs require a good credit rating to ensure you are financially responsible; if you are not financially responsible, you are considered to be more of a theft/embezzling/bribery/security risk.

          Everyone has a credit rating, whether they want it or not. It's a tool that may be used to your advantage if used properly. Ignoring it cannot benefit you, only harm you in the long run.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by argStyopa ( 232550 )
        "Borrowing on a credit card is madness, interest-wise."

        Not really.
        There are many no-annual-fee cards out there that charge no interest if you pay it off every month.

        So in fact, you MAKE MONEY using a credit card for regular purchases, because your money is sitting in the bank gaining interest through the whole month.

        And 'debt' is only an issue if you spend more than you have currently.

        Secondly, if you have a pocketful of cash you are mugging bait, and if you are robbed you lose.
        If you have a credit card you
    • Re:It's Your Choice (Score:4, Interesting)

      by HappyEngineer ( 888000 ) on Wednesday June 20, 2007 @04:01AM (#19575903) Homepage
      It's possible that the real reason he uses cash is because he doesn't like being tracked.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by GoofyBoy ( 44399 )
        What a strange argument to apply here. You've already on record for attending university. You are already on record for living in a dormroom. You've even posted this on the Internet. Do you think they need to track small unmarked bills or credit card records or satelite photos to get this information?

  • Here you go... (Score:5, Informative)

    by HaeMaker ( 221642 ) on Wednesday June 20, 2007 @02:52AM (#19575505) Homepage
    The more you know. []
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Dude, get over yourself, open a bank account. Where do you keep your money? Do you even have any significant amount of money? How do you beat inflation? How do you pay taxes?

    What is it exactly you don't trust about banks? I mean, money is a number, and if it goes up in one place it has to go down someplace else, just check your bank statement each month, what exactly is going to happen?

    As for your dilemma, have your mommy write the check, or buy a fucking money order. They don't have to accept cash.
  • Jesus Christ (Score:5, Insightful)

    by suv4x4 ( 956391 ) on Wednesday June 20, 2007 @02:53AM (#19575519)
    Jesus, you're stubborn:

    I don't trust the banks, or the credit card companies, so I am one of the few people who do EVERYTHING in cash. [..] I fear out of technicality I am going to loose my housing since I cannot get them their money on time because they do not take cash.

    Do you know few of the things you CAN do with cash?

    Get a cashiers check.

    Open a checking account.

    Just go and do it, don't just put your entire savings in there if you're so paranoid, put the amount that the university will charge you.

    Do you honestly are telling us that you'd rather *lose* your housing than open a checking account and put $100 in it?

    • by QuantumG ( 50515 ) <> on Wednesday June 20, 2007 @03:04AM (#19575587) Homepage Journal

      Do you honestly are telling us that you'd rather *lose* your housing than open a checking account and put $100 in it?
      Don't be stupid, RMS would never submit an Ask Slashdot.

    • Re:Jesus Christ (Score:5, Insightful)

      by clickclickdrone ( 964164 ) on Wednesday June 20, 2007 @04:10AM (#19575945)
      Indeed. I'd like to know just what the problem with banks is - do they make a habit of running off with people's money is the US?
      Personally I can't remember the last time I touched a bank note - I do everything on credit or debit cards (or online, natch). I have a small pot of change for carparks etc. but that's about it.
      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Ponzicar ( 861589 )
        Not that I've heard of. Plus we have this: [] so bank failures aren't a big worry. I guess he could be worried about banks allowing fraud or hidden fees that they use to squeeze extra pennies out of people, but that can be minimized by only putting small amounts into the bank and using the account only when necessary.
    • Re:Jesus Christ (Score:5, Insightful)

      by thesandtiger ( 819476 ) on Wednesday June 20, 2007 @08:53AM (#19577835)
      On top of that, the question itself is fucking stupid.

      "Dear Slashdot - I'm having trouble opening a jar of pickles. WHAT DO I DO?!"

      "Dear Slashdot - my mom won't let me have boys over unless we stay in the living room. Any advice?"

      I mean, the guy is in college and rather than solve a trivial problem on his own, he needs to ask the fucking Internet?!

      Here's my helpful suggestion to the person asking the original question: Just give up. Seriously. If you can't figure out how to do something simple like this on your own, the rest of life is going to steamroll you.

  • I'm reasonably sure that in this day and age most reasonably sized towns would have a post office that you would be able to get a money order from. Further to that, I'm reasonably sure that it is quite a rare for a university campus not to have a post office.

    Get a money order and be done with it.
  • Its too easily stolen and comes with higher staffing, maintenance and security costs. When I lived in Amsterdam a few years ago it had gotten to the point where several bank branches in the city did not even carry cash and for those that did only carried small amounts so you had to inform them in advance if you wanted to withdraw anything in excess of something like 5K.
    • Really? In Germany it is the exact opposite, non-cash ways of paying for things are still, relatively speaking, rare. The big places will all take plastic, but many Germans still prefer to pay for whatever they can in cash. The Germans are the ones that insisted on making a 500 euro bill(though I have yet to see one personally, maybe because I'm so poor :P)

      When I lived in Japan it was pretty cash based too, though between when I lived there in 2003 and when I went there in 2006, the number of places th
      • by cyxxon ( 773198 )
        Hm, no, I am German as well, but that paints a wrong picture. Most banks in Germany require you to call in advance if you want to get more than say 5k or so, and there are indeed a lot of things you cannot do without an EC or CC card here. Have you tried to buy a flight recently, or booked a hotel room? CC. No option for paying with cash, since they cannot bill you additional charges then (destroyed furniture, cancellation fees if you do not show up, etc). Sure, you can buy groceries with cash, and clothes
  • Trust (Score:5, Funny)

    by jfroot ( 455025 ) <> on Wednesday June 20, 2007 @03:13AM (#19575639) Homepage
    So let me get this straight, you don't trust the banks so much that you make your life clearly more difficult, but you're willing to trust advice from a bunch of geeks on Slashdot? Maybe we're all out to get you too!
  • JFC dude.

    Ever hear of a Money Order?
  • I don't trust the banks, or the credit card companies, so I am one of the few people who do EVERYTHING in cash.

    I don't trust them either. So I check the balances online, keep the printed copies (and decline online-only records), and keep deposit receipts.

    Really, you're going to have to get one eventually, and if you are clever enough to work the system you can get all sort of cashback rewards and the like.

    It isn't that difficult, they make easy enough cash off the genuises who carry $10K balances
  • by mwvdlee ( 775178 ) on Wednesday June 20, 2007 @03:22AM (#19575689) Homepage
    Where do you live?
    You'd be a lot easier to steal from than somebody that uses bank accounts.
  • If you carry around a large amount of cash (say $100), and somebody mugs you for it, you're out $100. Same goes for the property management firm (in this case, the college): if they have $100 in their office and it gets stolen, along with somebody's lunch, they're out that $100. However, thanks to FDIC insurance, if somebody robs a bank of $100, the Federal Reserve is out $100, not the bank.

    Sure cash has no transaction fees like credit/debit transaction fees, and doesn't require verification like checks (or
  • by 91degrees ( 207121 ) on Wednesday June 20, 2007 @03:41AM (#19575791) Journal
    I mean all a dollar is is a promise of payment from the US teasury - essentially a big bank. Do all your dealing in precious metals.
    • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 20, 2007 @08:57AM (#19577907)
      Precious metals? Not usually. I only barter in items that have intrinsic value.

      This reminds me, I too had trouble putting down a deposit for my college dorm room back in 1999. Would you believe that they wouldn't take beaver pelts? I even threw in some iron pots and a musket. They treated me like I was crazy! Does no one take beaver pelts as legal barter anymore!?
  • I don't trust the banks, or the credit card companies, so I am one of the few people who do EVERYTHING in cash.
    Man, you have no chances left.
  • by Daltorak ( 122403 ) on Wednesday June 20, 2007 @03:52AM (#19575855)
    You get over it. That's what you do. If you're too chickenshit to even open up a chequing or credit account that you wouldn't even use save for the occasional transaction that must be done using a verifiable electronic method, you are not going to make it very far in this world. You won't ever be able to get a place you can call your own; you will have difficulties getting some kinds of jobs if you don't have a demonstrable credit history; you won't be able to get a variety of services. Sure, you can go to the local Western Union and constantly have to make money orders for everything, but then you'd constantly have to carry hundreds if not thousands of dollars around with you (how safe is that?) and you have to pay out of your own pocket every time. Plus, to most people, you won't look like you've got your shit together if you're constantly paying for everything with money orders. People that you want most to trust you, won't.

    And how the heck do you plan on saving money? Put it in a shoebox under your bed? What if your place burns down in a fire, or what if someone breaks in and steals it? Insurance companies won't replace lost or stolen cash. If your credit card or bank card gets stolen and used for fraud, you almost certainly will get your money back -- that's the beauty of little electronic footprints and camera footage.

  • Two Points (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Shihar ( 153932 ) on Wednesday June 20, 2007 @03:59AM (#19575887)
    First, the answer has already been posted. Get a money order.

    Two, you are an idiot if you pay cash to the university. You don't trust banks but you are willing to trust a university? Your trust issues are more then a little fucked up. If you pay cash to a university, you have one less piece of a paper trail should the university turn around and screw you... and screw you they often do. Universities are notorious for piss poor management, lost bills, and all other manner of headaches. Despite the general incompetence of most universities, the one thing you can always fall back on is that if they charge you electronically there is not only their receipt, but a transaction from your bank as well. When you go to dispute your bill, you will be armed with a very clear record of how they fucked up. Your trust priorities are a little confused if you think that a bank is more likely to screw you then a university.

    I highly suggest making friends with money orders, refillable credit cards, or some other method of paying besides cash. Only using cash will keep you from doing some very simple things, like ordering stuff online, sending checks in the mail, etc.

    I am not sure if you are paranoid, trying to dodge taxes, or just are not happy with the crop of crazy groups available at universities and decided to start your own but you are likely to find the all cash world not worth whatever you are getting. Sure, you might dodge a few taxes, but the amount you pay in pain and the inability to easily use basic services is likely to be far worse then Uncle Sam's FICA taxes. If you are just paranoid... well, I suggest seeing a doctor with the power to prescribe medication. Uncle Sam really doesn't give a shit that you had to pay a school deposit. Really.
  • It may not be legal for them to do that, but bureaucracy at UIC is a completely horrible mess of incompetent staff with no accountability. Good luck.
  • by Zork the Almighty ( 599344 ) on Wednesday June 20, 2007 @04:05AM (#19575923) Journal
    I don't get it. You don't trust banks, but you trust the Federal Reserve ? The people who can and do print money like it grows on trees and in cotton fields ?
  • I'd love to see this challenged. Legal Tender laws were passed to force people to accept paper money instead of demanding gold or silver as payment. As in what is stated in the Constitution. Prior to the Federal Reserve paper money used to say "In Gold we Trust" and it used to be redeemable for gold. That changed with the Federal Reserve and it was forced down our throat with the legal tender laws that said we had to accept Federal Reserve Notes as payment for all debt, public and private, and that is w
  • by aussersterne ( 212916 ) on Wednesday June 20, 2007 @04:45AM (#19576137) Homepage
    You will need credit. Not just to buy and sell. To get an apartment. To get a job. To forge other relationships with various institutions that want to evaluate your trustworthiness with something other than your own claims about yourself.

    It's regrettable, maybe (certainly I think so), but it's also damn tough to live any other way in the end. A life without credit is a life with many fewer opportunities and many fewer potential relationships. Not just slightly fewer, but fewer to a crippling extent.

    But credit is not something that exists here, now, it is something that exists through your own financial history of using it. That is to say it's circular: you get a little, you use that little, then you get a little more, then you use that little more, etc. You only get Credit (big 'C') by using your credit (small 'c') responsibly over time. The later you start, the later you'll actually get there.

    If you're over 20 and you haven't started already, you're way behind the game. By the time you're 30 and haven't started, most institutions won't extend you any anymore. They'll just paint you as "different." They don't care whether you're different in a bad or good way for not having credit; they just don't want to do business with people who are "different." Because "different" people might respond to responsibilities in "different" ways from the ways in which members of society typically do.

    My advice: go open a bank account and put some money in it. Leave a balance of a few hundred dollars there for a few months, then get a credit card with that bank. Use the damn card. Pay off your balance. Even if you just do $20 a month, i.e. toilet paper and granola bars, on the card. Just to get a credit history going on.

    And later on, if you find yourself in this situation again, you'll have a bank account that you can quickly deposit some cash in and use a Visa/Mastercard debit card against.
  • by ajs318 ( 655362 ) <sd_resp2@earthsho[ ] ['d.c' in gap]> on Wednesday June 20, 2007 @07:17AM (#19576895)
    You're only venturing into fraud / theft of services / obtaining by deception territory if a court of law decides that you had no intention to pay. You turning up at the office with actual banknotes demonstrates an intention to pay. If they refuse a reasonable offer of payment, they may well (inadvertently) be agreeing to give you something for free.

    It's a bit like the case of the student who got a wealthy lawyer to sponsor his university education in law, on the basis that he would hand over the entire proceeds of his first case by way of complete and final recompense. Immediately upon receiving his degree, he signed on the dole and made no attempt to get a job as even a minor partner in a law firm. His sponsor took him to court for breach of contract; the graduate represented himself. Either his sponsor's payoff would amount to nothing (because he had lost his first case); or the decision of the court would be that he didn't have to pay his sponsor anything (if he won the case).

Perfection is acheived only on the point of collapse. - C. N. Parkinson