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I read this novel in the late 70's where the protagonist is fleeing from the authorities and goes into a completely automated store. He needs to use an id card like an ATM card to make his purchases. Each person had "credits" they could spend based on their ranking in society. For some reason I can't remember, the protagonist's rating gets erased and he has no ranking. So he ends up on the run from the central authorities and connects with a woman who is trying to overthrow the status quo.

I can't remember the name of the book or author. This book stands out to me because it was the first time I remember coming across the concept of the cashless society.

This is not Bellamy's "Looking Backward"

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  • Could it be by Mack Reynolds? Lots of his books involved a "Universal Credit Card" Aug 23 '21 at 19:50
  • I guess it's not Stepfather Bank (1980) by D C Poyer. Aug 24 '21 at 0:38
  • It makes me think of 'The age of the pussyfoot'
    – Danny Mc G
    Aug 24 '21 at 5:54
  • It's not Stepfather Bank - but that was a great story!
    – mjenkins
    Aug 24 '21 at 20:40
  • It's not "The age of the pussyfoot". I have not read that. But I might now!
    – mjenkins
    Aug 24 '21 at 20:42
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Some aspects of what you describe (cashless society, oppressive central authorities, and the person who is the leader of those who want to overthrow the status quo is indeed a woman) match This Perfect Day by Ira Levin, published in 1970.

Once the protagonist is on the run, the point is not so much that he has no more credits, but that he cannot use his wrist-band-credit-card because he would be immediately found by the authorities.

Opponents of the system manage to leave the mainland by boats and reach an island, where a woman tries to organise a revolution. And the protagonist, Chip, does indeed reach the island.

The scene in the automated store you remember may happen before he was pushed to be on the run.

The store does not just check you have enough credits. The central computer discourages any excessive interest. A glutton, for instance, will be allowed to buy only so much candy, even if he still has a lot of credit to buy apples, or books, or whatever. Chip likes to draw. But at some point he is not allowed to buy drawing paper because the computer has detected his "addiction" to drawing, but he still has a lot of credits for other things. And that is where it all starts....

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  • I read the wiki on this book. It sounds interesting buy is not the particular story I was looking for.
    – mjenkins
    Dec 13 '21 at 19:40

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