LuganoPirate – all the concerns you write about, I recognise as the way I felt a couple of years ago. Technology forms part of international travel and once I accepted that, I felt comfortable in using the internet and other electronic vehicles to control my finances (home and abroad).
The nearest comparison I can give is the changing patterns of booking hotels and airline tickets. Once upon a time, calls went straight into airlines and direct to hotels for prices, booking and reservations. Whilst this hasnt stopped, most of the savvy deals are now through the internet (airline/hotel websites or 3rd party brokers).
The way we handle money and credit cards has now changed – when I embraced whats available – I got it to work for me rahter than the other way round.
Most ATM’s I use are in hotel or airport foyers. I feel far less vunerable paying by debit/credit card rather than cash and as Simon mentioned, at least with plastic you have an accounting trail for expenses.
I too have far too many pieces of plastic, but only advise the ones I am about to use for travel when needed, usually at the airport via the internet. Its so easy and far quicker.
With regards to your 30 minute delay and threats etc (including copying your business cards) I would be interested to hear a fuller version of events. To request a copy of all your personal contacts and receipts for the cash, somebody must have had due reason to make that request. I presume you were given a form 5090 when you were stopped. If you feel that you were unfairly treated, there is always the opportunity to obtain a fuller explanation as detailed on that form