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How the cashless economy is creating inequities in San Diego

An MTS rider swipes his credit card at an MTS ticket machine in April 2013.
Katie Schoolov
An MTS rider swipes his credit card at an MTS ticket machine in April 2013.

From touchless payment methods to online banking, new forms of technology have been making cashless transactions easier and more common for both buyers and sellers.

The push away from physical dollars and cents isn't helping everyone, however.

Despite the intended effect of streamlining daily purchases, cashless commerce can actually end up further disenfranchising people who do not have a checking or savings account with a bank.

In a story for Voice of San Diego reporter Jesse Marx writes about San Diegans who have been negatively impacted by cashless commerce including musician, Ezekiel Morphis who had not opened a bank account because he was worried overspending and getting hit with over-draft fees.

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"Then the pandemic hit. Dozens of times, he recalled, he went into a business — a hardware store, a gas station — and got turned away," Marx wrote.

Morphis did eventually open an account with a credit union to be able to get unemployment benefits.

Marx joined Midday Edition on Monday with more on how a cashless commerce system can create inequities.