(Aka When cash was the best way)
I really love some aspects of my every day life here in New York and at the same time I realize that some things I used to believe in are totally inconsistent here. Among these is the legend that cash is the best form of payment. In the middle of the streets, when you buy a burrito from a random guy in that little kiosks you are not supposed to pay in any other way than cash, but it’s not always like this. And I can extend this concept to whole US.
In my place my landlord provided me a series of assets to be used in my home such as appliances, stoves, dishes, cleaning every two weeks and cable tv. I didn’t know what cable tv was before coming to the US as the best we have in Italy is satellite TV and we call “cable” the normal tv we have been forced to install to replace the old broadcasting system. I hate Italian tv, I will never sit there and watch Italian shows. I just love satellite tv sit-coms.
While I was looking for the latest episode of my favourite sit-com on the Internet I found out Netflix represented a good alternative to cable TV. Basically with eight bucks a month you can watch a series of sit-coms and movies through your internet connections, paying easily with your credit card. I decided to subscribe to Netflix but I realized that my credit card (that ironically claims to be fast and American) charged me two or three Euros (not dollars) every transactions, even if it was just a cent. I have the power to be involved in every kind of scams but the one I recognize.
I’d rather pay with my blood than gift the company extra money they don’t deserve, so I chose to open a checking account to a local American bank. I was “chasing” the opportunity to save some money in all the transaction I normally do. I had this plan in mind: if I have to buy something small, a coffee or pay a cab I just use my cash as usual. When I have to buy much more stuff I just use Italian my credit card to make my father pay for me. I realized that the fee of the transaction is standard for all the operations, so I decided to ask my father to transfer the money to my checking account (paying once the fee) and let me pay everything here with my American card. Smart as a fix and three times taller.
Among all the offers I found out that the bank I told you before is the best one if you plan to deposit at least five hundreds dollars a month on the account, and they will waive the fees. Repeat this operation every month to save every month. I also noticed that much more places accept credit cards, even for smaller amounts: have you ever tried to buy a coffee in Italy with the credit card? Did you survive the bartender fury?
Here I pay tv, Sunday soccer, groceries I buy online (and I will tell you about this later) and I withdraw money with credit card. A revolution, if you think that Amazon opened last year in Italy and Paypal has never been used in my city, as far as I know. We are basically afraid of credit cards, we see them as evil monsters that eat our money to give us statements and debit and scams in exchange. Even I the first time that I came here had a suitcase full of 10 dollars bills instead of a simple credit cards, I looked like a narcotrafficant.
By the way, subscribe a debit, not credit card if you move here, it would definitely change your life. Even make it worse if you have my same sensation of having infinite money in it (and every time I open my internet account page I realized they are not infinite at all).
(They love my (few) money)