Dollar Bills

The PNC Bank ATM near my house (as well as numerous others across the city) allow customers to withdraw cash in increments of $1. Of course, I think this is pretty awesome - but it's still one step away from perfection.

(from dipdewdog on Flickr)

While the ATM allows me to get money in increments of $1, it doesn't let me pick the bills that I want. For example, if I want $19, it gives me a ten and 9 ones. If I want $39, it gives me a twenty, a ten and 9 ones.

I prefer paying for small purchases with cash, when it's reasonable. Cash comes in particularly handy when you're out with a big group and everyone is tossing money into the pot at the end of the night. But it's only as convenient so far as people have correct change. If three friends get together for drinks, each spends ten-bucks, then they only have twenties in their wallets when the check comes, it doesn't really help.

One reason I think some people are reluctant to pay for stuff with cash is that they don't want to stop at an ATM all the time. But another reason is that $20 bills aren't always the easiest to spend. Make it easier for people to get exactly the bills that they want, and maybe people will use cash more often. Then again, this flies in the face of the banks themselves, which have a strong incentive to keep people using plastic, even when it's completely unnecessary.