Cash or charge? Salvation Army's iconic red buckets now take plastic

You know the drill: you're walking out of the store, shopping bags in tow, when a bell-ringing Salvation Army guy in earmuffs gives you the look. Maybe you feel around in your pockets for a sec, or maybe you just skip right to the dramatic shrug; either way, chances are that you don't drop the proverbial nickel in the drum.

Aside from stinginess, there is a very good reason that many customers hold off on giving money to the Salvation Army: they often don't have any cash on hand. After all, between credit cards, debit cards and gift cards, there is hardly any reason to carry money for shopping, and the added bulk and insecurity of bills and change only increase the difficulty of holiday shopping. Of course, no cash translates into no cash donations, which tends to leave the bell ringers high and dry.

But now, in many parts of the country, there's no excuse if you don't have any dollar bills or coins in your pocket.