A Real Life Reason to Carry Cash

a credit card terminal
Credit card terminals were down across Canada today.

I got $500 from the ATM today while in town to pick up some lumber. I’m expecting another delivery of firewood next week, and I usually pay cash. The other half of the money will go to replenish the cash reserve I keep in my gun safe. Even before I left the house, I had $72 in my pocket. I never leave the house without cash.

Later, I learned that there was a widespread internet outage in Canada, affecting half the country. In addition to Internet services, people lost their cell phone coverage, 911 and emergency services were negatively affected, lots of ATMs wouldn’t work, and many stores had to accept cash only because their credit card processors were part of the same network. There were reportedly lines at banks as people had to go inside and wait in line to get money the old-fashioned way–face to face from a teller. I bet that was an unfamiliar experience for many younger Canadians.

According to the video below, there were quite a few pissed off people who could not get their morning cup of coffee because they didn’t have any cash. I also saw plenty of tweets from angry Canadians.

Gas station payment systems were also down. A good reason to keep at least half a tank of gas in your car.

Cash Only

I still remember the day more than two years ago when I walked into a SmashBurger to order lunch. “Cash only,” they said to me after turning other people away. “Our card processor is down.”

“I have cash,” I said. They looked relieved. While I waited for my order, more customers came in. I would say only one in five had cash. Most left disappointed.

I find it shocking that people don’t carry at least a $20 bill, just in case. I think a $20 and a $50 or $100 bill would be better. It’s not like it weighs much. You can fold it up and stick it between your phone and the back of your phone case. Or tuck it behind your least favorite credit card or your driver’s license.

If you are traveling far from home, you should carry several hundred dollars distributed between multiple locations. You might need it only once every three years, but if you do need it, you will be damn glad you had it. If the world collapses, that money might help get you home.

No Cell Service Means no Apps

I expect most people can go a day without calling anyone on their phone, but take away texting and their apps and they freak out. This might be a social media addiction or it might be for good reason. For example, if you rely on Uber or Lift to get around, you can’t get a ride home without a good cell connection. If text is your preferred method of two-factor authentication, you won’t be accessing any important documents or accessing your accounts without cell service. You can’t even go to the movies because you use an app to tell you what is playing.

At Canadian ports of entry, the ArriveCan app was down. This delayed processing of people arriving in Canada from other countries. It also meant no one was granted access to the country unless they had paper proof of vaccination status. Hope you didn’t fly in.

Were they Hacked?

The question on one is addressing is: Did hackers cause the outage? If someone hacked Rogers, was it Russia?

It would not surprise me if the answer to both questions was “yes,” but we’ll probably never know. But we do know, downing an internet service provide and/or cell phone company can cause significant disruption.

Here’s a bigger article on why preppers should not only carry cash but use it regularly.