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Is Cash No Longer Legal Tender?

Cliff posted more than 7 years ago | from the plastic-now-worth-more-than-paper dept.

Businesses 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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In some cases.... (4, Interesting)

Atlantis-Rising (857278) | more than 7 years ago | (#19575447)

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.

Re:In some cases.... (1)

Endymion (12816) | more than 7 years ago | (#19575509)

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.

Re:In some cases.... (4, Funny)

SharpFang (651121) | more than 7 years ago | (#19576315)

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

Re:In some cases.... (1)

UnHolier than ever (803328) | more than 7 years ago | (#19575693)

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 and carry large amounts of money in the street, which I didn't like. I can't imagine not using the banks nowadays, I think you are underestimating their usefulness.

Re:In some cases.... (0, Offtopic)

lorcha (464930) | more than 7 years ago | (#19575867)

My landlord got burned by bounced checks (not from me), so he accepted nothing but cash.
Damn, what's that idiot going to do when he gets mugged for the $10,000 cash he's carrying around? What form of payment will he accept, then?

Somebody better tell that guy about cashier's checks and money orders, pronto!

Re:In some cases.... (3, Interesting)

simm1701 (835424) | more than 7 years ago | (#19575995)

That probably what he told you, however if he only accepts payment in cash the most common reason is that he will only declare 1/2 - 3/4 of it as the actual income from rent and pocket the rest.

Cash is nice and untraceable like that

Re:In some cases.... (1)

UnHolier than ever (803328) | more than 7 years ago | (#19576171)

Yeah, I know. But rent was cheap, and I didn't "officially" know.....

Re:In some cases.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19576283)

Coinage Act of 1965 - Section 31 U.S.C. 5103, United States coins and currency (including Federal reserve notes and circulating notes of Federal reserve banks and national banks) are legal tender for all debts, public charges, taxes, and dues.

Very good question. (1)

kungfujesus (969971) | more than 7 years ago | (#19575451)

I have never been able to get an answer. Why won't people just accept cash? Isn't all money the same?

Re:Very good question. (1)

nebaz (453974) | more than 7 years ago | (#19575465)

Probably a liability issue. Cash is much more easily stolen (especially large amounts), and could be tempting. Harder to cash a check not made out to you personally.

Re:Very good question. (1)

FieroEtnl (773481) | more than 7 years ago | (#19575547)

If this were an issue involving a large amount of money, I would agree with you. Cash is extremely easy to steal in comparison to checks, money orders, or cashier's checks. Not only that, but there's always the possibility that a large amount of cash could have been acquired by illegal means, such as drug sales or money laundering.

But the question posed by the contributor doesn't involve a large amount of money, or at least it isn't a large amount of money given the context. A hundred bucks to a large university is a proverbial drop in the bucket. It's not like he's trying to pay all of his tuition at once with a suitcase full of hundred dollar bills.

Re:Very good question. (1)

mikesd81 (518581) | more than 7 years ago | (#19575669)

It's a hundred dollars per person...

Re:Very good question. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19575869)

> It's a hundred dollars per person...

and he's not paying for all of them, only himself...

Re:Very good question. (1)

lessthan (977374) | more than 7 years ago | (#19576203)

Yes, but all that cash (should everyone try to pay cash) would accumulate somewhere and that place has someone handling all that money. You might argue that not many people would go the cash route, but what is the university going to do? Set a limit on how many people can pay cash? "Oh, I'm sorry sir, the guy ahead of you just filled our cash quota. You'll have to do a money order."

Re:Very good question. (4, Insightful)

dtmos (447842) | more than 7 years ago | (#19576217)

...but the policy would apply to all housing students. I don't know how many students are housed at UIC, but if 10,000 students paid cash in the last few days before the deadline (a not unrealistic situation at a large state university which may have 20,000 housed students), the housing authority could be holding $1 million in cash, in small bills. The security required for this, both physical (i.e., safes, cameras, limited access to certain areas) and financial (receipts, auditing, etc.) would be a major pain. (I know that if I were managing that department, establishing a no-cash policy would be my first act.) There are often valid legal (liability -- after all, this is the U.S. -- corporate structure, etc.) and accounting reasons for separating university housing (or even specific fees) from the university bursar, so the fact that he can't just have the bursar -- who may be able to accept cash -- debit his account isn't surprising, either.

One of the main functions of college is to prepare young people for the Real World(tm) -- a place where you will often face people and entities that are not the slightest bit interested in what you want. Considering the needs of others, and not just your own desires, has a name: Maturity.

Re:Very good question. (1)

chiasmus1 (654565) | more than 7 years ago | (#19575779)

Isn't all money the same?

Perhaps you have never exchanged money. If you go to airports to exchange money, you might notice that the exchange rate for travelers checks is better than the rate for cash.

Re:Very good question. (2, Informative)

antifoidulus (807088) | more than 7 years ago | (#19576081)

If you exchange money at the airport you are doing it wrong. Horrible, HORRIBLE rates. Find an ATM, or if you must exchange some money for local transport to the city(because you can't find/don't trust an airport ATM), just exchange enough to get to the city, then hit up an ATM. They almost always give better rates than you can get with a travelers check or cash.

Re:Very good question. (1)

EightBits (61345) | more than 7 years ago | (#19575983)

The child posts are right. You usually cannot pay rent in cash either. Consider that not only is it a large amount of money if everyone pays their rent on the same day, but the date is also a known quantity. Knowing that the due date for rent is the same every month means you could very easily observe when this date is and try to hit the apartment office on that date. If they simply don't accept cash, it makes any money stolen just about worthless and worse (for the robber,) much easier to track. Basically, it makes it not worth the risk to try to rob the place. It's a good policy.

Re:Very good question. (2, Interesting)

Technician (215283) | more than 7 years ago | (#19576421)

I have never been able to get an answer. Why won't people just accept cash? Isn't all money the same?

Most of the time it boils down to liability and proof of identity. Let's say I rent a lawnmower for the day for $5. It's picked up an never returned.

Let's say I rent an apartment, dorm room, hotel room and get no ID. After a week stay I find they had 500 cats and no litterbox and didn't use an ashtray so there are burn marks on the counter in the bathroom. They pack up and leave me the mess.

With a credit card, I have ID and can persue a collection action and ding the credit report. I'm much more likely to have a good rental experiance.

If you stop in the grocery store and pick up a 10 lb sack of potatos, cash is fine.

Why won't people just accept cash? Isn't all money the same?

I feel your pain. I was in the same boat when I was in the military. I took vacation and went to Hawaii. No amount of money would rent a car. It was a credit card or nothing. I toured the island by city bus. I missed going out to a few places and spent way too much time in the hotel bar. It's like being grounded while on vacation. Their failue to provide transportation saved me a lot of money I would have spent on entertainment.

What I learned is a credit card is a type of finance ID. When done with the rental, most of the time you can pay cash. The card is the best way to telephone shop. Getting flowers to a wedding or funeral is easy. For a long time I had just one card and it got used about twice a year for several years.

Wow... (4, Insightful)

ResQuad (243184) | more than 7 years ago | (#19575453)

Goto your postoffice, and get a cashiers check. Seriously. Not rocket science here.

Re:Wow... (1)

Endymion (12816) | more than 7 years ago | (#19575497)

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... (3, Interesting)

ximenes (10) | more than 7 years ago | (#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:Wow... (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19576247)

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... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19575573)

well if he has no bank account, I'm more than certain that he isn't cashing his check (job wages or whatever income) for free either anyway.

Re:Wow... (4, Interesting)

sgant (178166) | more than 7 years ago | (#19575691)

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...

Minor Nit (1)

lorcha (464930) | more than 7 years ago | (#19575799)

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.

Well good luck with that (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#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.

buy a money order. (3, Informative)

the unbeliever (201915) | more than 7 years ago | (#19575457)

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.

Re:buy a money order. (1)

KevMar (471257) | more than 7 years ago | (#19575533)

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.

Re:buy a money order. (1)

Antony-Kyre (807195) | more than 7 years ago | (#19575599)

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.

Re:buy a money order. (1)

Verte (1053342) | more than 7 years ago | (#19576289)

It's the only way really when you've got tax or child support problems.

Payment of Debt (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19575461)

Legal Tender means that it must be accepted as payment of a debt.

However, if there's no debt, there's no requirement to accept cash.
I'm pretty sure a store could refuse to sell you something if you used cash, and in the case of this a "pre-payment" is certainly not a debt.

I think you're letting your paranoia get the best of you though, seriously. Are you just trying to prove a point? Or do you like cutting your nose off to spite your face?

Re:Payment of Debt (2, Informative)

TheWanderingHermit (513872) | more than 7 years ago | (#19575543)

Legal Tender means it can be accepted as a payment of debt.

While it's not in the US, Ottawa will no longer accept cash when used to pay for taxes.

Also, in the U.S. there is no law requiring anyone accept cash as payment. I know Heinlein thought otherwise in some statements in "Time Enough for Love," but it's not true. For a little more, read this [typepad.com] . As someone else pointed out, the legal tender issue will only work for paying debts incurred, not ones about to be incurred.

Re:Payment of Debt (1)

Enderandrew (866215) | more than 7 years ago | (#19575673)

I saw a story on CNN about a guy who paid his yearly taxes with a huge truck and pennies.

In the US, the IRS is required to accept cash.

Re:Payment of Debt (1)

1u3hr (530656) | more than 7 years ago | (#19575815)

I saw a story on CNN about a guy who paid his yearly taxes with a huge truck and pennies.

I've heard that story a dozen times in my life. But in most countries, the creditor could refuse to accept them. Eg, in the US 1 cent coins are only "legal tender" for amounts not exceeding 25 cents.

In Hong Kong lots of shops are refusing 10 and 20 cent coins ($1US = $7.8 HK), because the banks charge a handling fee to deposit them. Stored payment cards are in common use, for almost all public transport, now being extended to convenience stores.

Re:Payment of Debt (1)

Enderandrew (866215) | more than 7 years ago | (#19575895)

I saw video of it on CNN. Actually, technically I believe it was on their Headline News network, but I did in fact directly see video of it.

However, as a side note, I once suggested as a small child (perhaps 7 or 8) that it only made sense for the world to go completely to electronic currency. I kept trying to convince adults that physical currency is not only inconvenient, but it is easier to steal, and harder to track.

If those concepts are readily apparent to a child, why hasn't anyone actually suggested it on a very serious level?

Re:Payment of Debt (1)

novakreo (598689) | more than 7 years ago | (#19575991)

I saw video of it on CNN. Actually, technically I believe it was on their Headline News network, but I did in fact directly see video of it.

However, as a side note, I once suggested as a small child (perhaps 7 or 8) that it only made sense for the world to go completely to electronic currency. I kept trying to convince adults that physical currency is not only inconvenient, but it is easier to steal, and harder to track.

If those concepts are readily apparent to a child, why hasn't anyone actually suggested it on a very serious level?
Because those concepts are readily apparent to anyone. Phyiscal currency is harder to track than electronic currency, and many people are concerned about the privacy implications of electronic currency.

Re:Payment of Debt (1)

clickclickdrone (964164) | more than 7 years ago | (#19575957)

>In the US, the IRS is required to accept cash.
Luckily the UK is a bit smarter and coin is only valid up to a surprisingly low amount.

Re:Payment of Debt (2, Funny)

Enderandrew (866215) | more than 7 years ago | (#19576079)

"Luckily the UK is a bit smarter"

A bit? Don't be modest.

Re:Payment of Debt (1)

Dogtanian (588974) | more than 7 years ago | (#19576419)

Luckily the UK is a bit smarter and coin is only valid up to a surprisingly low amount.
Yes; in England and Wales, only UK coins of £1 and above (i.e. £1 and £2) and Bank of England notes (i.e. £5 and above) are legal tender for unlimited amounts.

Interestingly, in Scotland apparently only Bank of England notes *under* £5 and coins in varying amounts are (strictly speaking) legal tender. Since there are no longer any Bank of England notes under £5, this means that only £1 and £2 UK coins are legal tender for unlimited amounts(!).

That is misleading however, as Scottish courts enforce "reasonable" settlement of debts, which in practice would allow any BoE note and privately-issued Scottish banknotes.

Re:Payment of Debt (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19575801)

Legal tender only applies when dealing with the goverment, when dealing with anyone else it's what you two agree on, if they say we don't accept cash they can refuse you business if you insist in paying only in cash.

They could insist you pay in gold leaf if they wanted and tell you to take a walk until you did, but they probably won't get much business.

Go to your local mall. (1)

JavaPunk (757983) | more than 7 years ago | (#19575485)

Most malls these days let you buy prepaid debit cards in any amount you want. Look online and I'm sure you can find it. Did ask if they would accept a cashiers check? The post office offers those.
I forget the interview--Discovery Channel years ago, some interviewer was concerned that businesses where not taking cash anymore. The found some government offical who said that even though it says "All Debts, Public and Private," nothing is forcing them to do business by it. Businesses could use Euro's if they wanted.

Re:Go to your local mall. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19575621)

Using Euro's is irrelevant to this. Private business transactions can use whatever they wish as the currency (There may be a regulation against illegal items, narcotics, etc, but IANAL). US law requires businesses to accept Federal Reserve notes as legal tender for all debts public and private. However, it does not state that Federal Reserve notes are the ONLY legal tender. There are several regional monies in the US, many made because people don't trust the U.S. (dollar, government, Federal Reserve). The liberty dollar was/is the most well known of them: http://www.libertydollar.org/ [libertydollar.org]

These may help:
US Law on Legal tender: http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/html/uscode31/us c_sec_31_00005103----000-.html [cornell.edu]
Wikipedia article on (U.S.) Legal tender: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Legal_tender#Legal_te nder_in_the_United_States [wikipedia.org]

Though I can't say I've heard of a difference between debts and pre-paying. The law stipuates "all debts, public charges, taxes, and dues." While this could be considered a public charge, again IANAL, so, take it with a grain of salt. If anything, could print out the legal code reference and bring it with you, depending on how far you want to push the issue.

HTH

It's Your Choice (5, Insightful)

TheWanderingHermit (513872) | more than 7 years ago | (#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 (5, Informative)

nagora (177841) | more than 7 years ago | (#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.

TWW

Re:It's Your Choice (2, Insightful)

Corporate Troll (537873) | more than 7 years ago | (#19576205)

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.

Re:It's Your Choice (1)

TheThiefMaster (992038) | more than 7 years ago | (#19576303)

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 finance or a loan, because in a year it will have already cost me less.

The only loan I plan on getting in the future is a mortgage, because I don't expect my bank account to ever have enough in it to buy a house.

Re:It's Your Choice (5, Informative)

MrAngryForNoReason (711935) | more than 7 years ago | (#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:It's Your Choice (3, Interesting)

HappyEngineer (888000) | more than 7 years ago | (#19575903)

It's possible that the real reason he uses cash is because he doesn't like being tracked.

Here you go... (5, Informative)

HaeMaker (221642) | more than 7 years ago | (#19575505)

The more you know. [treas.gov]

Re:Here you go... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19575723)

And knowing is half the battle...

Yoooooo JOE!

world's smallest violin.... (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19575515)

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 (4, Insightful)

suv4x4 (956391) | more than 7 years ago | (#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?

Re:Jesus Christ (4, Funny)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 7 years ago | (#19575587)

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 (4, Insightful)

clickclickdrone (964164) | more than 7 years ago | (#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:Jesus Christ (2, Insightful)

Ponzicar (861589) | more than 7 years ago | (#19576333)

Not that I've heard of. Plus we have this: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fdic [wikipedia.org] 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.

Wha? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19575523)

Who are you Dale Gribble? Just get a bank account.

I will accept your cash (-1, Troll)

niceone (992278) | more than 7 years ago | (#19575571)

Just stuff it in an envelope and mail it on over!

Re:I will accept your cash (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19575703)

With a title like that I was *so* expecting a goatse link. You disappoint me.

You can't get a money order? (1)

Frogbert (589961) | more than 7 years ago | (#19575581)

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.

Get a money order (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19575591)

They don't have to accept cash, no.

And you shouldn't be paying cash for such a service anyway. Get a cashier's check or money order.

You'll find as you become an adult very few (non-slumlord) landlords will even accept cash. It's too big a hassle, it's not safe to carry around, and most importantly it doesn't leave a paper trail. Yes, a paper trail is important, considering how often tenants and landlords end up in court! This is for your OWN protection anyway. If you insist on paying in cash your school may have a bookkeeping error and say the cash was never received (and thus you won't have a room waiting for you), or a future landlord may say you missed a rent payment several months back. Without proof of deposit you're going to have a hell of a time proving they're wrong.

Just bite the damn bullet and get a checking account and debit card. Do it at a small credit union if you don't trust the "man". Personally I think you're being a fool... Your money is much safer in a bank, and If you're known for keeping large amounts of cash in a dorm room, it WILL be stolen.

No one wants to deal in cash any more (1)

Timesprout (579035) | more than 7 years ago | (#19575609)

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.

Re:No one wants to deal in cash any more (1)

antifoidulus (807088) | more than 7 years ago | (#19575683)

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 that took plastic grew significantly.

Re:No one wants to deal in cash any more (1)

cyxxon (773198) | more than 7 years ago | (#19576399)

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 and the like, but that's about it in my experience.

Re:No one wants to deal in cash any more (1)

sa1lnr (669048) | more than 7 years ago | (#19576123)

It doesn't come with identity theft or credit card fraud though. Which I expect accounts for more theft now than was ever done with cash thefts.

I do the same thing.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19575613)

I live off cash, for various reasons. There are a few options:

1) Money Order. Goto western Union, and make one, easy. Cashier's checks, traveller's cheques, etc.
2) Prepaid Visa Giftcard. Since its only $100 deposit, a simple $100 gift card will do. get the ones that are visa logo. Works every time. (Short of a few online orders that require address match.. in which case..
3) Get something similar to Western Union Prepaid Mastercard. $5/month, $4/reload. Easy. Overall if you need a Logo card, its decent, easy to reload, and relatively cheap. Only problem is.. When you get out in the real world, PG&E has 'partnered' with Visa, so you have to pay in cash, as they refuse to accept mastercard/amex/etc. (jerks...)

Just run down to your local walgreens (green, not mart mind you) pick up one of them $100 gift cards, they're yellow btw, and tada! problem solved.

Also.. if you ever read a paper bill.. upper left hand corner..

This Note is Legal Tender
For all Debts, Public and Private.

Dont know who you would call though...

Trust (4, Funny)

jfroot (455025) | more than 7 years ago | (#19575639)

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!

Quite simply... "No." (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19575651)

No, it is not legal. It states explicitly on the bills: "This note is legal tender for all debts, public and private." They're required by law to take it.

Re:Quite simply... "No." (1)

TheWanderingHermit (513872) | more than 7 years ago | (#19575749)

Wrong. If you had read other posts before making your post, or had checked through Google, you would have found out that isn't true, but, then again, with such a sharp, clever, and unique insight, I'm sure you're a lawyer and know what you're talking about, right?

Re:Quite simply... "No." (1)

mabinogi (74033) | more than 7 years ago | (#19575819)

So which part of "pre-payment" implies there is a Debt?

FFS (1)

gellenburg (61212) | more than 7 years ago | (#19575657)

JFC dude.

Ever hear of a Money Order?

Staffing, Accounting Systems, Theft (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19575663)

Maybe too much cash would pile up and make it a robbery target.


Maybe the staff are too dumb to accept cash. Or too crooked. Maybe it gets to be an accounting nightmare.


Maybe they need the audit trail.


They should suck it up and beef up their system to take be able to take cash. The fish is in the boat, why throw it back? Oh, we don't accept cash. Makes a business man cringe to hear that kind of talk.


It is probable stupidity or budget contraints rather than some conspiracy.

I don't trust them either... (1)

feepness (543479) | more than 7 years ago | (#19575677)

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 they don't really need to screw you for your $100 deposit. And it also depends on the risk you want to take... if I lose my wallet I'm secure two phone calls later (I carry only my ATM card and one credit card). If you lose $20K on the way to buy a car what are your options?

All your answers right here... (0)

Enderandrew (866215) | more than 7 years ago | (#19575687)

Mail your cash to my home address.
????
Profit, I mean, I will then help you with all your problems.

So... you only have cash (2)

mwvdlee (775178) | more than 7 years ago | (#19575689)

Where do you live?
You'd be a lot easier to steal from than somebody that uses bank accounts.

Cyberspace cash (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19575695)

In the famous "Cyberspace trilogy" books (yes that's where the word came from) it's illegal to conduct business using cash, coz it allows for too much fraud; everyone uses credit chips...

Re:Cyberspace cash (1)

mcvos (645701) | more than 7 years ago | (#19576455)

It's true. Large amounts of cash are suspicious. There's an entire money laundering business to turn large amounts of suspicious cash into large amounts of unsuspicious cash. If you can't prove you got your large amount of cash legally, it's suspicious.

There are many holes in the way law enforcement tries to catch illegally acquired cash at the moment. If they try to close those holes, it's quite likely that using cash for large transactions will become illegal. Or even using cash at all; Dutch banks already want everybody to use a kind of credit chips.

FDIC (1)

Jack Schitt (649756) | more than 7 years ago | (#19575757)

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 fees if you outsource that like a lot of larger retailers do), but businesses don't like to deal with cash as it's a bigger liability than any of the other aforementioned methods (due to potential robbery, fraud, lack of paper trail, etc.).

I hate writing checks and I don't like to use my credit card for paying bills. I regularly pay via money order. They're not free, but the fee isn't usually all that much, typically a few dollars.

You can get money orders from many convenience stores, grocery stores, and post offices. Most banks will also let you purchase them. Some banks will give them to you for free if you are a client. I usually end up with Western Union money orders from 7-eleven.

The only institutions (if I understand correctly) that won't accept money orders is insurance companies. You'll probably be better off paying with a cashier's check instead (I can't recall the difference here).

I'd avoid cash as well (5, Funny)

91degrees (207121) | more than 7 years ago | (#19575791)

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.

simple solution (1)

fragnafritzz (1098565) | more than 7 years ago | (#19575831)

don't have time to read the thread atm (!) but just go in and get a certified check.

And cash can be counterfeited (1)

ebbe11 (121118) | more than 7 years ago | (#19575841)

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.

Re:And cash can be counterfeited (1)

ankleteeth (646346) | more than 7 years ago | (#19575979)

"Man, you have no chances left."

You have no chance to survive, make your time!

here's what you do: (4, Insightful)

Daltorak (122403) | more than 7 years ago | (#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.

Re:here's what you do: (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19576185)

Oh come on. He won't have any of those problems. No one will be able to pay him...

Two Points (5, Insightful)

Shihar (153932) | more than 7 years ago | (#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.

Good luck (1)

illuminatedwax (537131) | more than 7 years ago | (#19575891)

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.

Do you trust the Federal Reserve ? (4, Insightful)

Zork the Almighty (599344) | more than 7 years ago | (#19575923)

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 ?

Open a bank account (1)

mlk (18543) | more than 7 years ago | (#19576025)

And only put in it what you really need to.

Or better yet, go see a counselor.

Legal tender laws (1)

tres3 (594716) | more than 7 years ago | (#19576089)

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 what is printed on all paper notes. You should point that out to the housing department. A lawsuit is only $30 in most jurisdictions and you can sue for damages so sue for the $1.50 the money order costs plus the gas to drive there the time it takes and all the expenses associated with filing the lawsuit. It won't cost that much to push this issue and it should be an easy victory. I know many here said that if you already owe the money then the legal tender laws apply but if you have not yet incurred the debt then they don't. I can't help but thinking that someone would have still insisted upon gold being paid in advance of making any transaction in an attempt to avoid accepting the new notes of the private for profit corporation named "The Federal Reserve". (Yes it is private, it was incorporated in 1914 in Puerto Rico, no it is no more federal then Federal Express, and no it doesn't have any reserves.) I think you would have an easy win and perhaps a good story for the college newspaper.


The Honorable Ron Paul tried to have the Legal Tender Laws repealed on July 25, 2003, when he spoke from The Well of The House of Representatives and stated:

Legal tender laws disadvantage ordinary citizens by forcing them to use money that is vulnerable to vast depreciation. As Stephen T. Byington wrote in the September 1895 issue of the American Federationist: "No legal tender law is ever needed to make men take good money; its only use is to make them take bad money. Kick it out!" Similarly, the American Federation of Labor asked: If money is good and would be preferred by the people, then why are legal tender laws necessary? And, if money is not good and would not be preferred by the people, then why in a democracy should they be forced to use it?
...
While harming ordinary citizens, legal tender laws help expand the scope of government beyond that to which it is authorized under the Constitution. However, the primary beneficiaries of legal tender laws are financial institutions, especially banks, which have been improperly granted the special privilege of creating fiat irredeemable electronic money out of thin air through a process commonly called "fractional reserve lending." According to the Federal Reserve, since 1950, these private companies (banks) have created almost $8 trillion out of nothing. This has been enormously advantageous to them.
HR 2779 (source) [fame.org]
Had his resolution passed then they would have legally been able to tell you what form of payment they would accept. This did not pass and they are required to take legal tender a/k/a cash as payment. This will be an easy case for you to win. Just like going into a drive through in the middle of the night and reading the sign no bills over $20 accepted and handing them a $50. This was the intention of these laws to prevent them from saying payment in gold or silver only. This is the main reason that I so strongly support Dr. Ron Paul for President.

Re:Legal tender laws (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19576215)

You must not have seen this response [slashdot.org] to the first post.

Re:Legal tender laws (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19576279)

My god... such a long, ill-informed ramble. As noted repeatedly in other responses, legal tender is only relevant for the settlement of an existing debt; neither the situation in the poster's question nor your hypothetical drive-through are examples of this.

This is the main reason that I so strongly support Dr. Ron Paul for President.
Such a pity.

Re:Legal tender laws (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19576301)

Prior to the Federal Reserve paper money used to say "In Gold we Trust" and it used to be redeemable for gold.

"In Gold we Trust"? Is this some kind of a joke?

This [wikipedia.org] is an example of how US paper currency used to look. What it actually says is something like: "This certifies that there have been deposited in the Treasury of the United States of America fifty dollars in gold coin payable to the bearer on demand". Nothing about "In Gold we Trust".

On the other hand, coins did not say anything about redemptability, I suppose because they were themselves made from precious metals at that time. But they did generally include both the slogans "E pluribus unum" and "In God we trust" since the 1860s. An example is this 1881 dollar coin: (obverse) [wikipedia.org] (reverse) [wikipedia.org]

Very dumb way to live. (5, Insightful)

aussersterne (212916) | more than 7 years ago | (#19576137)

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.

Re:Very dumb way to live. (1)

schotty (519567) | more than 7 years ago | (#19576293)

I agree with the parent. In fact, get a job working for a collection agency. You will learn exactly how credit works, how to break it, how to mend it, and how to grow it without that much effort.

As the parent said, get a prepaid credit card. These work generally in $100 or $250 increments, and are issued at all major banks and credit unions. Get one for whatever your monthly bills are to accrue (minus rent, since you probably cannot pay with a Visa there). Gas, food, smokes, chips, phone bill. Run it up, at the end/middle/start of the month, pay it all off. Do this repeatedly throughout the term of the deposit. Then when you can get a real Visa/Mastercard, do the same.

Another option is similar, but with a secured loan. You put whatever the amount of the loan is. lets say 12 month / $1000 loan. You drop the $1000 in, it is locked. You earn interest on it. In exchange, you get $1000 to do what you want. Use this to pay the monthly payment on that loan. You end up making $50 or so in interest over the next year, and build credit fast (or repair it).

Also, you WILL WANT A BANK ACCOUNT! Either with a bank (if you travel alot this is most handy) or a credit union (better interest rates, and better loans, but usually only local). If your employer has a credit union, join it. You can usually, even with shit credit, get a loan after a few years (5 to 10) just because you were a reliable member for a while. Even if it is a $20 every pay period over the time in a savings (not checking, or money market) account.

Again, take a 3-9 month gig at a collection agency. If you can deal with the phone, its a cakewalk for decent money. I worked one for 6 months and made a crapload off fees alone (fees are the fees tha collection agency charges the creditor for successfully working the debtor into paying a portion or full amount of the debt).

Cashless is a fantasy these days.

wtf (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19576159)

The shit that makes it on to ask slashdot is fucking ridiculous and this is a classic example. I have real IT issues that are continually rejected for garbage like this.

What, no mark?! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19576179)

Using cash is helping the terrorists! If you have no mark on your forehead, I'm calling the cops.

Step 1 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19576187)

Stop dealing drugs and get a real job. I mean seriously, if not from a bank, how do you get your money in the first place? allowance from mom and dad? tooth fairy scam? 20s tucked into your g-string when you're dancing in the strip club on Saturday nights?

The degree of small-mindedness that you exhibit shows that you have never had enough money to actually have to worry about someone seriously ripping you off.

Re:Step 1 (1)

Rakshasa Taisab (244699) | more than 7 years ago | (#19576415)

And if he really does get his money from the Tooth Fairy, then nothing makes people more suspect that a guy who pays everything by cash... They'll come looking for that fairy.

Cash is not something you can trust (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19576467)

You have dollar bills. Each of them buys a pack of gums. Your total fortune on this world is £20,000, hence you can buy 20,000 packs of gum.

Someone in the government decides to print money. In fact, they (somewhat simplified) decide to print one dollar note for every dollar note already existing.

Suddenly, your total fortune is $20,000 and it allows you to buy 10,000 packs of gum, while the government's new-found fortune allows them to buy 10,000 packs of gum as well.

Funny these things. If not trusting, it's only gold you can trust.

Of course, I would evaluate the chance of banks going bad (and hence a reason for avoiding credit) to be very unlikely, equally unlikely (or maybe slightly less likely) than for the government to print money.

Lenin said the way to crush rich people was to grind them between the twin millstones of taxation and inflation.
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