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Some National Parks no longer take cash to enter, just cards. Good idea or bad?

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We’ve been noticing that more and more places aren’t accepting cash anymore. Are you finding this true where you are, too? Even some National Parks have said goodbye to cash and are only accepting payments in the form of credit or debit cards.

If you pulled up to an NP booth wanting to pay your entrance fee in cash but they turned you away, how would you feel about this? Is it a good idea or a bad idea? As always, please feel free to leave a comment after you vote. Thanks!

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51 Comments
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Matt
1 month ago

I camped at a national monument this summer where the campground was pay by credit card only at a kiosk. You entered the site number, swiped you card, and it printed a receipt for you. It was extremely convenient, especially because a lot of campgrounds have oddball costs like $18 or $22 a night. I don’t always have exact change, so either have to end up paying more for the night or digging out a check book to write a check instead. The credit card option was much more convenient in my opinion
I talked to a park ranger about it. They told me it made things much easier for them too…. In the past, they had to dedicate 2 employees every day to go get the cash box and sit in a locked room together to go count all the money and take to the bank. Changing to credit cards payments freed up 2 park rangers time for half of every day to do better park rangery things then counting money to make sure the other one didn’t pocket any of it.

Gordon page
1 month ago

If we use card all the time the government can keep track of your money and where you travel

Steven N
1 month ago

“They” are doing their best to do away with cash and make us a cashless society. One wonders what they plan on doing when the point of sale goes down, are they going to stop allowing people to enter the park? Many national parks are in the middle of nowhere, how are they going to get connectivity? Or are they just going to rely on you showing your confirmation email or e-ticket from your online reservation to enter only?

Gordy B
1 month ago

What about the guy who has had a string of bad luck He doesn’t qualify for credit of any kind. He and his waitress wife managed to save enough to take the kids on a trip to the near by state park. Don’t they deserve a chance to go. Should they be turned away because they only have cash? Happy Trails

MrDisaster
1 month ago

After working for a federal agency for over 30 years and accepting cash for payments I know that dealing in cash is a PITA. Debit and credit card transactions are safer for both parties. Transactions are automatically totaled and ready to go at the end of the day. No or little cash means less chance of a cash short (or long) and reduces the opportunity to skim a little. (That still happened but fairly easy to catch). Cash will still be accepted because it has to be. For those of you who worry about the government tracking you remember there are many (mostly easier) ways to track a person than dealing with a bank to get info. Sheesh folks not everything is a conspiracy!

Last edited 1 month ago by MrDisaster
Bob M
1 month ago

Since our government is forcing us to use credit cards. They need to regulate financial institutions from charging too much interest and change policies. Many people can’t afford to pay their credit card bill off monthly. It’s too easy to charge, then not have the money to pay the bill. No matter how financially secure you are today. Tomorrow you could be broke. As a former board member of a credit union. We had to write these losses off. Our government even makes financial institutions write off the debt after a period of time.

KellyR
1 month ago

Every year before hurricane season we are told to stock up on supplies, food, AND CASH! It is known that much of the IT infrastructure may be down. I have certainly run into situations in dealing with entities that I have been told, “get back with us later, our system is down”. AND there are no “knuckle busters” around to manually accept a credit card. We met extended family at a restaurant – all paid at the table with a card. I paid at table in cash and confused the server. He came back with my change – $10 over what I was owed. I left him a $10 tip. It appears that there is no backup system in place. Talk about the economy coming to a complete STOP! This concerns me more than the price of gas or any other situation in our lives. I do not want to be left out in opportunities in life, but there are places that I will not use a credit card – I’ve had one hacked (that was a mess), but never cash. The Gov’t not taking Gov’t money? COME ON! – and to say the Parks are for the people?

Cheryl Robinson
1 month ago

It is legal tender and I don’t how they can turn you away.

Sharon
1 month ago

I think I would prefer that visitors have options. However, If a park feels that options are feasible in their operations, they had best be broadly communicating that debit/ credit only are accepted—-and not just on one sign at the gate

DW/ND
1 month ago

It would seem, with today’s electonrics and like any business, the NPS would have a vehicle and number of persons count at the end of each working shift. That in turn should balance with the cash and cards received and turned in at shift end! I am sure they have a vehicle count and they seem to know the number of people visiting parks – so is it an anti-theft move or a matter of convenience?

The problem with some folks these days being unable to make change without a machine telling them how much – is another matter and the employee should be responsible for balancing the books during his/her time shift.

Don Nedrw
1 month ago

There are prepay cards for those that don’t have a credit or debit card. They can keep smaller $$ amounts incase they are the only monetary accepted.

Roy Davis
1 month ago

I fully understand why the NPS would be going this direction. The mishandling of cash is a real problem. Many of the younger generation can’t make change without a machine telling them the amount.

Cat
1 month ago

I would be concerned that my card number would be misused…I have that concern any time I use a card to pay. Sometimes it can’t be avoided but getting into a NP shouldn’t be one of those times. No, I’m not concerned about be tracked via a card number…our cell phones are already doing that! I don’t use my phone to pay for anything but, probably in the not too distant future, being a cash-less society might be the goal. It’s a matter of technology and security improvements. We aren’t there yet, IMO.

Thomas D
1 month ago

Some people can’t handle credit cards. They buy and buy and can’t repay. They shouldn’t have a card. I buy everything I can on cc and pay off fully when statement comes. Just last night I ordered an rv power adapter. My cost $0. My cash back bonus is paying for it. But, the person that can’t control spending should not be denied entrance. Take the cash. Yes there may be employees with sticky fingers but you can have that in any business setting.

Andrea
1 month ago

This has been going on for a while, I see good reasons for it – remote NPs don’t need to worry about keeping cash for change, nor security for theft of any sort. It also helps speed things up when there are lines at an entrance.
Moot point for us, in some ways, I’ve had my permanent Senior Pass for a few years now, and before that, we always bought the annual national park pass.

Rosalie Magistro
1 month ago

Credit cards are the perfect way for out government to watch and track us.
Unfortunately you have to have them for certain things..

Ray
1 month ago

Seems odd that the national parks service would be moving for the convenience of the government and the inconvenience of its citizens.

JT1102
1 month ago

Bad idea. It eliminates a some of our citizens.
It’s always been my understanding that U.S. currency is our legal tender and must be accepted at all businesses. Whether it’s a stack of 100 dollar bills or a wheelbarrow full of pennies, it is legal tender and must be accepted as payment.

Deborah Mason
1 month ago

I had to say “bad”, but … Our national parks are supposed to be for everyone. Some people do not have a debit ot credit card, so this denies them entrance to the park that doesn’t take cash. But, it is safer for the employees at the entrance station – no cash to rob. And let’s face it, crime doesn’t stop at the park border.

Glenn A
1 month ago

I thought the courts ruled that businesses in NYC could not legally demand electronic/card payment in lieu of cash. If privately owned businesses cannot use that practice, the government should not be allowed either.

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