Reni Odetoyinbo was among millions of Canadians affected by the July 8 Rogers Communications nationwide outage.

Posted at 12:14pm

Leah Golob
The Canadian Press

The 26-year-old content creator had not only lost access to her internet service, but had bank problems trying to get groceries. Like several other retailers that day, the store she went to could only take cash.

“I don’t really walk around with money, but luckily I had some that day,” she said.

Mme Odetoyinbo also doesn’t usually have any cash at home, except for a $100 bill she received as a gift.

Since Rogers’ default, however, she plans to keep $100 in cash in her wallet at all times, alongside a few hundred dollars at home. And with some banks reporting problems with their ATM services, Mme Odetoyinbo is also considering keeping some of its money in a traditional bank with physical branches. At the moment, his finances are spread across digital banks with no fees.

“Those who were caught without money may now realize that we need to have a backup plan,” said Lisa Kramer, professor of finance at the University of Toronto Mississauga.

While it’s not a good idea to liquidate part of your retirement savings to stash under a mattress, it’s a good idea to save a few hundred dollars for emergencies based on daily expenses, points out Ms.me Chandler.

“You just have to think of an emergency where the telecommunications are down or maybe the power isn’t circulating. We do not have access to emergency services. What does it take to cope in such a situation, to support yourself for a few days? »

And when withdrawing money, it’s better to make sure you have small denominations like $5, $10, and $20, Mr.me Kramer in case traders lack loose change in emergency situations where only cash can be used.

Reserve a few weeks

Mark Cleveland, a professor in the Department of Management and Organizational Studies at Western University, believes the recent national blackout will mean more Canadians will have more cash on hand, at least in the short term.

He recommends people have enough money for about a couple of weeks.

“I try to always have about $200 in my wallet for everything I need,” says Cleveland. “I try to keep 2-3 times that in a safe place at home just in case. »

“Giving up cash is very risky. »

Cleveland says he believes people’s trust in the digital payments system will wane, at least temporarily.

“When the power goes out or when the banks have a run and they have to close for a few days, when there is a cyber attack on a retailer or financial institution […] or in a country’s internet system, say by a hostile foreign government, the digital economy may be severely impacted, but cash will still work. »

But with many shops not accepting cash during the pandemic, people may have to get used to making sure they have notes in their wallets again.

There may also be different generational attitudes towards storing cash. Those with a lower tolerance for unpredictability tend to be older consumers and therefore more likely to carry cash.

Younger consumers who engage in higher-risk activities and believe they are more resilient to harm are more likely to forego cash and use Apple Pay and other digital payment methods, Mr. Cleveland. They grew up with technology and are less skeptical of it, so they may not value money as much as a safety net.

For people looking to change the amount of money they keep at home, just think about your home insurance, Ms.me Chandler.

“Household insurance policies often limit the amount of money covered by the policy,” she explains. In order to decide how much money you want to keep, it’s a good idea to check this limit. »

Even if it is obviously possible to withhold an amount higher than that provided for in the insurance policy, it is simply necessary to understand that in the event of theft, only the amount indicated in the policy is covered.

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