Steve Lovejoy urges Maine consumers to use cash at local businesses (“Maine Voices: Give local businesses a little boost by remembering to pay with cash,” Aug. 13), arguing that cash is less expensive and more convenient. But he ignores the high costs of cash, as well as the benefits of electronic payments, to merchants and consumers alike.

First, the costs of cash for merchants includes the expense of accounting, transporting and securing cash against theft, as well as losses from counterfeit currency. Benefits for merchants of electronic payments include higher spends by customers, protection against fraud and valuable transaction and customer data.

Second, the costs of cash for consumers are also high. If someone steals cash from my pocket and uses it at a local merchant, that money is gone forever. But if I see a fraudulent charge on my statement, I have 100 percent protection against any liability.

Further, I receive valuable rewards like airlines miles and loyalty discounts for using my payment cards, and I also get protection against lost, stolen or damaged products, even if the store won’t take them back.

Growing up in Auburn, I learned how Maine small businesses drive our economy, and I worked at one of the Maine banks that powers electronic payments for the benefit of merchants. Today, the Electronic Transactions Association represents Maine-based payments companies that help merchants sell more and attract new customers. Let’s ensure that the benefits of electronic payments continue to drive commerce across Maine.

Jason Oxman

CEO, Electronic Transactions Association

Washington, D.C.