The value of cash on hand is proved yet again

I’ve written before about the need to have a “cash stash” for emergencies.  As far as I’m concerned, that also means carrying with me enough cash for a day-to-day emergency like paying in cash for something I’m buying, in case the power goes out and card machines stop working.  I try to keep a couple of hundred dollars in my wallet, just in case.

It looks as if that would come in very handy across Europe right now.

Millions of people have been left unable to pay for goods and services in shops, petrol stations and railway stations across Britain and Europe after an unprecedented crash in Visa’s payment system.

Shoppers and travellers were unable to use their debit and credit cards when the meltdown began at around 2.30pm on Friday across Europe.

Visa issued a statement saying it was experiencing “a service disruption”, without identifying the cause.

. . .

Major retailers confirmed that card purchases were failing, as queues built up at petrol stations, with frustrated drivers unable to pay after filling up.

. . .

Mastercard and cash machine transactions continued as usual but for bank customers with Visa cards only there was deep frustration.

. . .

It is understood the Bank of England immediately contacted Visa to find out when its system would be back up and running. One banking industry source said: “There is never a good time for the payments system to go down but a Friday afternoon, when there is a flood of people leaving work, must be among the worst.”

There’s more at the link.

Proof, yet again, that there’s nothing to beat a method of payment that doesn’t rely on electrical power at the point of sale!



  1. My basic hurricane and misc. emergency plan calls for a month's pay in cash kept in my gun safe and a like amount on deposit in a local bank that's not my main bank.

  2. Problem with paying by cash:

    The damn millenial running the checkout can't total the bill and can't calculate the correct change without the register telling he/she/it what to do.

  3. The effects were grossly inflated to incite fear. For example, a woman had to use her Visa card to withdraw cash to buy a sandwich instead of swipe and go, is the gist of one of the "horror" stories.

    Oh and people were inconvenienced because they couldn't buy a Big Mac or KFC using their swipe cards.

    The horror, the horror.

    1. There was some drama in there but it doesn’t take much imagination for a card not working to be a real issue.

      Say your a couple hundred miles from home and pull into a gas station. Your card doesn’t work and you don’t have cash.

  4. I keep a few hundred bucks in my wallet above whatever else is in there.

    My get home bad has cash in it as well.

    It is way more likely that I will need cash in an emergency than a lot of popular survivalist niche items like say pocket fishing kits.

  5. Eh, my family and I were in Scotland when this occurred. It wasn't countrywide apparently, as I didn't know about it until I saw the next mornings paper at breakfast – with baked beans of course.

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