Change is annoying. Whenever I get anything smaller than a $1 coin, I dump it as soon as possible into either a big jar at home or a big jar at work. My pockets have enough holes in them already, without carrying around thin-edged metal objects.
It is no surprise that there are companies that make machines that eat change and spit out a credit for groceries, taking a fairly large commission. The other night, an idea along similar lines occurred to me: a contactless â€˜change cardâ€™.
It would use the same RFID technology that credit cards are now adding. When you paid for something in cash, you would get back bills and perhaps $1 and $2 coins. The rest of the balance would get wirelessly added to your card. If they were privately deployed, the issuer would probably take some commission, but perhaps it would be worth having governments do in order to save them most of the expense and bother of making coins.
The cards would not be registered or tracked, but they would have a $10 limit. When you accumulated a balance at that level, you would need to buy small things like newspapers, coffee, or sandwiches to bring the balance down. This would be to reduce the risk of them being used for money laundering or other nefarious purposes.
The question – I suppose – is why not go whole-hog and use an entirely electronic payment system? That option is certainly already open to people, and for various reasons many people keep using cash. Giving people the opportunity to use cash without messing around with pennies, nickels, dimes, and quarters seems like a good idea.