Australia’s Central Bank Governor Discusses Possibility of Retailers Charging People for Paying in Cash

“The challenge with cash is that it really does have a big community public service sort of aura attached to it.”

The Reserve Bank of Australia’s new governor, Michele Bullock, just said the quiet part out loud in the rapidly intensifying war against cash. Speaking at the Australian Payments Network Summit last Tuesday (Dec 12), she was asked whether it’s perhaps time for retailers to stop offering cash as a fee-free payment option to consumers. Bullock responded by pointing out that as the share of consumer payments made using cash has declined, the running costs of processing cash for banks and businesses are mounting. As such, she said, it may be necessary some day to begin charging people for using cash in retail settings:

The issue with cash has always been that businesses don’t really understand the costs of cash in their business. They are at the moment, I think, understanding it a bit more, but in the past they haven’t really. They call “shrinkage” their main cost, which is basically theft, but really they haven’t internalised the cost of processing cash.

The challenge with cash is that it really does have a big community public service sort of aura attached to it. If you try to charge people to use cash, they’re prepared to pay to get it out of an ATM but if businesses started charging people to use cash, I suspect there’d be a very big backlash. Having said that, it’s also true that as economists we want people to face the prices of using particular services that reflect the cost of those services.

So, at the moment I think we are probably in a position where it’s very difficult to actually enforce payment for cash but it’s going to end up… with the costs being embedded in the cost of the financial institutions that are providing these services and people don’t face them. I think it will be a very big challenge.

This sentence bears repeating:

“The challenge with cash is that it really does have a big community public service sort of aura attached to it.”

“Aura” is a curious choice of words to describe people’s continued attachment to cash, as if there were something almost mystical or magical about it. Another interesting word she uses is “challenge,” which in this context I take to mean “problem.” In other words (and this is merely my reading of what she said), the apparent problem with cash is that it is widely perceived to serve the community and the public at large. Yet those are the exact same interests the governor of Australia’s central bank is supposed to be serving, says LNP Senator Gerard Rennick, a former banker who initiated and sits on a Senate committee conducting an inquiry into bank closures:

It’s legal tender and that’s just absurd to say you should pay fees… She should be representing the interests of the Australian people. This is the problem of having a so-called independent reserve bank, that over the years it has shifted its focus from protecting the people to protecting the banks. The RBA is technically saying the banks don’t have a social licence whatsoever and that’s not on.

Judging by the backlash her comments have already triggered, including on social media and even in parts of the mainstream media, Bullock is clearly right about one thing: an important part of the Australian public is still emotionally and financially attached to cash, even though they may not be using it as much as before, and the mere idea of paying extra fees to use a form of money that has existed for millennia would be anathema to them. The national broadcaster ABC posted a number of readers’ comments on its website, including the following three:

Business owner here, instead of a cash surcharge, we need a government option for card transactions, to keep those lower. Operators like Square and Stripe are getting away with charging 2.75% and traditional banks are racing to increase their fees to catch up (we have gone from 0.9% to 1.19% which doesn’t sound large until you remember that it is a 20% increase!). If cash is erased from the arena, you can bet the card transactions will keep getting more and more expensive when the cost associated decreases.* Government needs to step in before the price gorging gets out of hand.

– Rob

We taught our children from a very young age the value of money by paying them in cash for chores, good grades, etc. They would then go and deposit that money at a bank branch and have watched their savings grow. They certainly have a greater appreciation of money and how to manage it via the cash in hand approach, rather than paying them via a banking app. Forms of cash have been around for 5000 years and society shouldn’t be paying a premium to use a physical currency.

– Mark

One reason cash transactions have dropped is that there are fewer opportunities to pull cash out of your account and supermarkets, big box stores and other locations have shifting towards card only payment options.

– Alex

This is a key point. As the financial analyst, author and pro-cash activist Brett Scott noted in a 2018 article for The Guardian, when the big banks announce branch closures and shut ATMs, they create a feedback loop that constantly reinforces the impression that people are turning their back on cash when, in actual fact, banks are making it harder and harder for them to access it:

In closing down their branches, or withdrawing their cash machines, they make it harder for me to use those services. I am much more likely to “choose” a digital option if the banks deliberately make it harder for me to choose a non-digital option.

In behavioural economics this is referred to as “nudging”. If a powerful institution wants to make people choose a certain thing, the best strategy is to make it difficult to choose the alternative.

Financial institutions… are trying to nudge us towards a cashless society and digital banking. The true motive is corporate profit. Payments companies such as Visa and Mastercard want to increase the volume of digital payments services they sell, while banks want to cut costs. The nudge requires two parts. First, they must increase the inconvenience of cash, ATMs and branches. Second, they must vigorously promote the alternative. They seek to make people “learn” that they want digital, and then “choose” it.

Australia’s “Big Four” banks — Commonwealth Bank of Australia, Westpac Banking Corporation, ANZ Group Holdings Ltd, and National Australia Bank Ltd — were recently able to claim yet another major victory in their war of attrition against physical money. More than a billion dollars worth of physical cash disappeared from circulation in the last financial year, marking the first time the number of notes in circulation officially declined since dollars and cents were introduced in 1966. According to Channel Nine News, this is the “strongest sign yet” that Australia is truly on its way to becoming a cashless society.

The pandemic has, of course, intensified this trend. While changing demographics and consumer behaviour have also played a key role, so too has the increased difficulty of accessing and using cash. As a recent article in the Australian Financial Review lays bare, the much lower levels of cash usage are now making the business of delivering cash a lot less profitable, particularly in a country as large and sparsely populated as Australia (h/t bwilli123):

Lindsay Fox’s Armaguard received approval in June from the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission to merge with its major competitor, Prosegur, arguing this was required to make its business sustainable despite the reduction in competition. Yet within a few months of controlling 90 per cent of the cash distribution market, Armaguard is suddenly warning it needs a massive new injection of $190 million over three years to even keep going…

Already, the RBA estimates that 72 per cent of Australians were low cash users in 2022, defined as using cash for 20 per cent or less of their transactions, compared with 50 per cent of the population in 2019. The percentage of high cash users – using cash for more than 80 per cent of transactions – has halved to only 7 per cent over that same period…

Australia’s not the only country facing such dilemmas from the rapid decline in the circulation of cash although this country’s big distances requiring coverage do present particular problems. Once a week, for example, an armoured vehicle is loaded onto a plane in Perth and flown to Broome and back again (an over 2,000 mile round trip) in order to keep cash available in Australia’s remote northwest.”

To help accelerate this shift away from cash even further, three of the Big Four — ANZ, Commonwealth Bank and the National Australia Bank — have announced plans to cease handling physical currency altogether in select city branches, directing customers to withdraw and deposit cash at ATMs instead. The Commonwealth Bank and National Australia Bank refer to their cashless branches as “expert centers” and “specialist centers” respectively. ANZ unofficially calls their cashless outlets “digital branches.”

Now, the governor of the Reserve Bank of Australia is suggesting that citizens should one day have to pay extra fees in order to pay with cash — to protect the banks and retailers from the exorbitant costs of maintaining cash infrastructure. Yet the very same Big Four banks she wants to protect just posted record or near-record profits, in part because of surging interest rates but also because of the rising fees they charge on card payments.

What makes this particularly irksome is the fact that these same banks received huge sums of cheap debt to tide them over during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“They got $188 billion in cheap loans at 1%, some of which still haven’t rolled off,” says Senator Rennick. “This netted the banks over $30 billion in reduced lending costs, which has all been paid for by the taxpayer.” Now the banks are paying the public back by progressively restricting the basic services they offer to their customers.

Perhaps the most absurd aspect of Bullock’s comments is their timing, coming little more than a month after the Optus telecoms system crashed nationwide, leaving many retail businesses unable to accept digital payments as they relied on EFTPOS (electronic funds transfer at point of sale) linked to the telco. That outage, caused by a software upgrade error, lasted for about 14 hours before services were fully restored. It came just a year after Optus suffered a cyber-security failure that resulted in the data of millions of customers being compromised.

Australia has a long track record of disruptive bank IT outages, including one in 2022 that affected the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) itself. The latest big episode occurred just last week. Big Four lender Westpac’s online banking system suffered a major crash, leading to customers being shut off from their accounts and payment systems for around eight hours. Social media was abuzz with people complaining about not being able to access their accounts, pay bills or make contactless payments on their phones.

Yet instead of talking about the need to strengthen banks’ digital accounts and payment systems, the central bank governor seems to be more concerned about the costs of maintaining cash infrastructure. This despite the fact that said infrastructure provides greater resilience to a country’s payments system, as the Riksbank, the central bank of Sweden, arguably the world’s most cashless economy, admitted in a recent document (that also calls for government legislation to prepare the ground for an e-Krona, Sweden’s proposed CBDC):

Cash is needed to avoid people suffering digital and financial exclusion. Cash is also important for Sweden’s preparedness. If electricity and telecommunications were eliminated, cash would initially be the only viable means of payment. Retailers would therefore be obliged to accept cash as payment for essential goods, such as pharmacy goods, fuel, food and drink. Exceptions can be made, for example, for smaller businesses. In addition, banks should be obliged to accept consumer cash deposits.

Lastly, it is worth noting that Bullock made these statements on cash at the same time that the institution she heads is working around the clock to develop and roll out a central bank digital currency, or CBDC, which will compete directly with cash as what the central banks call “sovereign” money. As I’ve noted in a previous piece, Australia is closer to launching a CBDC than any of its “Five Eye” peers.

In fact, barring Sweden, it is the only country in the NATO-plus-friends collective to have reached the pilot stage of the development process, according to the Atlantic Council’s CBDC Tracker.

Readers may recall (from my September 9, 2022 article, Big Banks in Australia and Canada Are Leading the Way on Digital Identity) that Australia’s Big Four are also heavily involved in developing ConnectID®, a national infrastructure for digital identity verification, which (according to ConnectID®’s official website) “makes it easier to verify who you are, using organisations you already trust. You can expect to see ConnectID rolling out gradually across institutions and businesses in Australia during 2023.”

As an article in Australia Financial Review reported at the time (emphasis and comment in parenthesis my own), the banks apparently “see ‘identity-as-a-service’ as an incremental revenue stream that will allow them to charge retailers, utilities or fintechs for validating customer details, given banks are highly trusted [no, seriously, that is what the banks say] in the digital economy”. Which, I suppose, is just one more reason for wanting to kill off cash.

*  It’s pretty clear by now why Mastercard and Visa’s “biggest enemy” (their words) is cash. “Card issuers are aggressively trying to increase the size of their market, and the enemy is cash,” Christophe Uzureau, a banking analyst, told Financial Times in 2006. “They want to replace as many cash transactions as possible with card transactions, so they can earn fees.” Eleven years after that, in 2016, Ajay Banga, the then-CEO of Mastercard (and now managing director of the World Bank) said: “My enemy is cash, not an electronic payment. Eighty-five percent of the world’s retail payments are still in cash. Paypal and Mastercard and Visa are working only in that remaining 15%.”

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  1. bwilli123

    The problem is also that as demand for notes & coins are dropping (due to Australia’s love of ‘tap n go’) cash logistics is becoming rapidly less profitable for an already concentrated contingent of armoured truck companies.
    From the Australian Financial Review (paywalled unfortunately)

    “The COVID shutdown accelerated the surge to online payments. By 2022 only 13 per cent of all transactions involved cash, representing even less in value at a mere 8 per cent….all Australians do expect to have ready access to cash no matter the lower levels of overall demand for its regular use. That means the banknotes produced by the Reserve Bank are delivered to Australia’s big four banks which then pass them on to customers, including other banks, ATMs, big retailers, credit unions and Australia Post branches.
    The catch is that delivering the much lower level of cash now in use via a fleet of armoured vehicles is no longer the profitable business it once was….
    So Lindsay Fox’s Armaguard received approval in June from the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission to merge with its major competitor, Prosegur, arguing this was required to make its business sustainable despite the reduction in competition. Yet within a few months of controlling 90 per cent of the cash distribution market, Armaguard is suddenly warning it needs a massive new injection of $190 million over three years to even keep going…
    Already, the RBA estimates that 72 per cent of Australians were low cash users in 2022, defined as using cash for 20 per cent or less of their transactions, compared with 50 per cent of the population in 2019. The percentage of high cash users – using cash for more than 80 per cent of transactions – has halved to only 7 per cent over that same period. Even the distinction between a greater use of cash by the elderly and lower income and regional households relative to the rest of the population is now fading. And Accenture forecasts cash will only be used in 4 per cent of transactions by 2030.
    Australia’s not the only country facing such dilemmas from the rapid decline in the circulation of cash although this country’s big distances requiring coverage do present particular problems.
    Once a week, for example, an armoured vehicle is loaded onto a plane in Perth and flown to Broome and back again (an over 2,000 mile round trip) in order to keep cash available in Australia’s remote northwest.

    1. Nick Corbishley Post author

      Thanks Bwilli for the extra background from AFR, some of which I have hoisted into the article.

    2. The Rev Kev

      In the town near us, we once had three banks and two bank agents but now have only one bank with it’s own ATM. This in a farming region where the farmers want to have access to dependable banking services. If the powers that be decide to shut that branch and its ATM, then the nearest ones will be half an hour’s drive from here. So with no other option, people will be forced to use online banking and its b****** son mobile phone banking. And if that happens the economists will point to our region as ‘proof’ that people do not want to use cash but want to do everything with cards. And the statisticians will back them up with facts and figures.

      And if Armaguard is suddenly warning it needs a massive new injection of $190 million over three years to even keep going, then the government should say no problem – in return for a controlling interest in Armaguard.

  2. ambrit

    Add to this the “Prepper’s Nightmare,” of round the clock digital surveillance that a CBDC would provide the governing entities. Every single electronic financial transaction can be tracked and analyzed. The ‘hard’ and ‘soft’ ware for the task are already available. All that is needed is an “excuse” to roll the system out.
    The actions of the Canadian government in freezing the bank accounts of the ‘leaders’ of the Truckers Strike of 2022 provide just a taste of what a CBDC can achieve for a ‘managerially obsessive’ governing entity. The list of possible “controlling” actions a CBDC offers a governing entity is long and panoptical.
    The ‘reason’ given, that businesses, including banks, are burdened with ‘expenses’ associated with handling cash, sounds false. After all, businesses have been dealing with these ‘costs’ for centuries. Such “expenses” are nothing new. What seems to be the ‘new’ argument is the one that “profits” are being constrained due to the ‘costs’ of handling cash. So, as mentioned, the basic argument put forward here in favour of the ‘cashless’ economy is “profit” based.
    Considering the above, there is a basic split going on between the aims of the “business” community and the aims of the “general public.” Roughly speaking, the business community wants the medium of exchange to be a for profit business venture. The general public wants the medium of exchange to be a “public good.”
    The outlines of this competition come clearer now. It is a struggle between “The Public” versus “The Private.” Essentially, Communitarianism versus Neo-liberalism. Control over the resources that ‘run’ our civilization.

    1. MarkT

      Agreed. In much the same way, employees no longer seem to be viewed as “assets” which are beneficial to an organisation in the long run, but are viewed as costs: their salaries need to be minimised in order to maximise short term profits.

  3. The Rev Kev

    Trust Nick not to go near a flock of pigeons without being freshly armed with a cat under each arm. :) Checking on the Reserve Bank of Australia’s new governor – Michele Bullock – her Wikipedia entry seems to show that she has never worked in the normal work force to get an idea of what goes on at the coalface but instead went straight from University to the Reserve Bank of Australia. In other words, she may have been groomed for this job-

    There may be pressure to eliminate cash but it is coming from the top down rather than the bottom up. Young ones tend to be blase about the whole idea but they have no imagination or curiosity and have never heard of the idea of a ‘bank holiday.’ For them, everything just works so will always work. As I said, no imagination. Nick says ‘Having said that, it’s also true that as economists we want people to face the prices of using particular services that reflect the cost of those services.’ Of course if they try to force paying for using cash, they may find that people may go on strike and stop buying stuff, period. It has happened before.

    Certainly these days if I am in a place that does not take cash, then I walk out as apparently my money is not good enough for them. Much is made of the fact that a billion dollars went MIA from circulation last financial year. I would suggest that people are sensing that serious economic trouble lies ahead and so are hoarding that money rather than spending it. That is what we have been doing and tomorrow we have to pay for a very expensive car bill but which our cash reserves will handle. I know that what I about to say may be considered controversial but in any country, banks are not your friend.

  4. Terry Flynn

    As a UK citizen who subsequently gained dual (Aussie added) citizenship after a period living down under, I see some understandable reasons why cash is not “such a thing” in Aus compared to UK for the 99% but also feel deeply disquieted by this apparent war on cash.

    Non-Aussies need to understand how their Medicare system works: for many GP (family physician) visits you book an appointment, and at the moment of your appointment a debit of the appointment charge (e.g. $30) is made to your card, and a simultaneous credit is made from Medicare at a fixed rate ($30 when I lived there). Unless you go to a posh clinic, you pay no “excess” and all is well. Historically, the banking system was influenced by the whole process whereby Medicare was set up: essentially the Aussies said “hey, we’ll copy the UK NHS but learn from their mistakes and do stuff differently where appropriate”. Thus, the bugbear of the “Did Not Attend” problem was mostly solved: if you don’t report a good reason for a DNA (such as “I’m old and my carer never turned up to take me to the GP”) then you are $30 out of pocket, since you have the debit but not the credit.

    Naturally, financial systems needed to cope with poor financially less-savvy people. I saw much greater levels of “banking access” for the poor compared to Brits when there. Plus, “bulk billing” (to simplify the financial process still further) emerged. All hunky dory.

    Australia was interesting in the 2010s when I lived there: it largely skipped chip-and-pin and went straight from silly old-school USA swipe cards straight to contactless (and I found it hilarious that I could say “no” to chip-and-pin and just swipe in so many stores – double-you tee eff?!)

    Anyway Aus was MUCH better equipped to solve certain healthcare issues via a financial system that was better set up for the poor. The UK Girobank meanwhile was allowed to die.

    Now I see Aus waging war on cash. I instinctively don’t like this. When Aus had a “good way” of “doing health via banking” it was good. Now I’d have zero trust in them: the old “single point of failure” issue is looming large.

  5. lyman alpha blob

    Bought some lunch yesterday and paid with a debit card. When I looked at my receipt I noticed that I was charged a 4% “operating fee”. I’ll have to check with the merchant, but I’m assuming this fee is to cover and credit/debit card fees that they’re taking a hit on. If that’s the case, I can’t say I disagree with the fee they charged, and it’s a sign that not everybody is taking the war on cash lying down.

    The lunch place is on the major street going through the downtown commercial/tourist area. If there were any ATMs within a several block radius, which there would have been several years ago, I would have paid in cash to begin with.

    1. Yves Smith

      1. A debit card merchant fee is WAY lower than 4%.

      2. They are not allowed to impose a surcharge per their merchant agreement with the card network. Do not speak to the merchant. Speak to your card issuer and complain.

      There is a cost to handling cash and checks. It is a mistake to regard them as free.

      The idea that accepting cash is cheap is actually a myth. While some business owners might think the 3 percent fee for processing credit cards is a burden, research from IHL Group shows that cash handling costs many retailers between 4.7 and 15.3 percent. This means for every $100 sale, a business is paying between $4.70 and $15.30 just to manage their cash. And, the cost is only increasing as more businesses and consumers trend away from cash.

      Handling cash also comes with many unwanted risks. The process business owners must go through to manage cash is a clear burden. They have to account for it; count the drawer nightly and rely on employees to use the honor system when doing so; package it up and either hire a courier or send an employee to transport it to a bank; pay fees for processing and handling; and ultimately run the risk of exposing the employee, cash, and the business to liabilities that may not be recoverable.

      The big reason to use cash is to make sure your waitperson gets their full tip.

      1. lyman alpha blob

        I deal with credit cards all day long (hate them) and yes, the fees are less than 4%, so if that is what the “operating fee” is for, then this merchant is overcharging. As far as I know, the highest fees are for AMEX purchases which can be around 3% depending on the transaction – VISA/MC are less whether it’s credit or debit. I’ve seen many merchants give 3% or so discounts for cash purchases, so I thought this “operating fee” might be a different way of dealing with that. If credit card surcharges are not allowed though, then there must be a lot of people charging them anyway and getting away with it. My current workplace does not do this, but I have customers calling all the time to ask if we impose any extra fees for credit cards, so a lot of merchants clearly must be adding the surcharges. I think I’ll need to look into this after your comment! Did I mention I really hate these credit card companies?!? ;)

        I have worked retail, been a bank teller, and a waitron. Banks all have cash counters now that are extremely accurate, and I believe these are available to other businesses as well. You can put a pile of crinkled cash with mixed up denominations into the hopper and it will count everything in seconds. I can’t say they never make mistakes, but I never saw one. Yes, there are definitely expenses for handling cash, but there are expenses for stocking shelves, sweeping floors, bookkeeping, etc. And there are also expenses incurred for credit card reconciliations, too. I don’t see a reason to single out this one business expense and treat it differently than so many others. I feel that these studies are a way of justifying something governments and businesses want to do anyway. I did check your link, and the links included there too, and I couldn’t find any details of what businesses incurred 15% costs and why. If that figure is true, then those businesses are doing something wrong. Either that, or the 15% figure is an exaggeration.

        As far as “shrinkage” goes, that is a valid concern, but there are ways to minimize that too. Bank tellers have to balance their cash drawers every day, and if you do it right, it shouldn’t take more than 15-20 minutes. If you are off by more than a few cents on any regular basis, you aren’t going to keep your job for long. There may be a way to game that system, but with the system WAMU had in place I never figured out how one might do it, and I did give it some thought. In my year plus at WAMU, several people were fired for theft from just my branch, so whatever controls they had in place worked reasonably well. And for a large bank, balancing cash is a minimal expense overall. On a busy day, we might have had five tellers staying an hour after work to balance cash, and that’s only if there were mistakes to discover. Five hours at $13/hr (what we were paid at the time) is dwarfed by a few bounced check fees. WAMU made record profits when I worked there, and a manager told me that all of their operating expenses that year (labor, office supplies, you name it) were matched by bank fees alone. All the loan income, etc was just gravy. Then they went belly up not long after, but that’s another story.

        For non-bank businesses, theft is probably more of a concern, but I still don’t see it as a legitimate reason to stop accepting cash. One local merchant started refusing cash a few years ago, but he is also a huge cheapskate, and I heard him arguing against a $12/hr minimum wage a few years ago, too. Perhaps if he paid people more, he’d have less of a theft problem.

        Anyhoo, I agree with what you’re saying above, although I would like to see some details of the cash handling costs. IHL Group works for retailers, and I suspect their research is designed to advocate for and benefit retailers, many of whom would like to do away with cash. And thank you for reminding people to always tip your waitron in cash if possible. They will thank you for it!

    2. marieann

      I started paying my chiropracter in cash….she is very happy with that arrangement.. she has to pay a fee for credit card

  6. TxBig

    There also a war on safe deposit boxes ( at least in the US ). Cash has to be stored somewhere. Banks claiming that operating safe deposit boxes is unprofitable are discontinuing those services entirely. Banks that continue offering safe deposit boxes do not guarantee their safety and often ban storing cash in them.

  7. NYMutza

    It has been shown that people spend less when they use cash versus using a credit card. That alone is good reason to use cash for everyday purchases. We should all strongly resist efforts to restrict our use of cash.

  8. Willow

    Big bush fires that we have every few years take out power and hence communications. Stopping vendors from accepting electronic means of purchase. Those who don’t have cash on them can’t buy fuel to get out or basic food & water to remain in place. Add the increasing risk of severe cyber attacks on banking systems and power and communication networks in an increasingly conflicted geopolitical landscape and cash becomes an essential business continuity back up. Irrespective of any consideration of privacy which motivates a lot of people.

    Biggest competitor in Australia for Visa and Mastercard and money laundering for RBA are Chinese internet based payment systems & methods used by Chinese shops (significant in Australia) that completely bypass the domestic system.

  9. Quercus

    There is another huge problem. All digital transactions rely on electronic transmissions and satellites.

    What if there is another gigantic solar storm, a “Carrington Event” such as happened in 1859? Back then electronics were in their infancy, with minor disruptions, telegraph operators received shocks, etc.

    If this happened today, communications, banking and the entire world would be thrown into chaos.
    It could happen again. Hang on to your cash!

  10. MarkT

    I am told that NZ was one of the first countries in the world to adopt EFTPOS payment that has a direct link to a bank account. When I arrived here, I was amazed at two things. Firstly, the technology was everywhere: you can use it at the corner shop to buy a loaf of bread or a newspaper or a bus ticket. Secondly, it did not involve a global intermediary such as Visa or MasterCard, and there are no charges. Credit and debit cards are entirely different things.

    There now appears to be an anti cash drive, along with shutting down of bank branches. But as far as I’ve seen, no drive to get rid of the EFTPOS linked to one’s bank.

  11. Steven A

    When I renew my driver’s license a the local Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles office I have the option of paying in cash, writing a check or paying by card. They add a 3% “convenience” fee for using a card but it’s not clear what they mean by “convenience” since it takes only slightly more effort to write a check and somewhat less effort to pay in cash. I’m sure if someone suggests that they are passing on the bank’s transaction fee the BMV would deny it.

    For what it’s worth: in October I was in London meeting up with some of the locals. They took me to a Chinese restaurant near Leicester Square that takes ONLY cash. If anyone is interested it’s the Four Seasons Restaurant, 112 Gerrard Street.

  12. Local7775

    People dont understand Aus politics and mass media. If there is a mass media hysteria about reduced cash circulation and RBA people started to talk about it, it means only one thing: more and more people in Australia using cash now. That is how it works here. When deep state is loosing control , they push the media to sell the opposite picture in an attempt to “somehow” change ppls attitude. But that aint going to work.

  13. playon

    the running costs of processing cash for banks and businesses are mounting

    Cry me a river. Does any normal person feel sympathy for banks or large corporations?

  14. Jaduong

    Great article and comments.
    One ‘Elephant in the Room’ not mentioned is the cash economy.
    It is very common in Oz and in NZ to be offered a “cash discount “, especially by tradies and others whose business has a high labour component. I suspect, and I may be being a little uncharitable here (?!) that it has to do with tax, especially GST (VAT to my Pommie cousins).
    Whether this slows or accelerates the rush to a cashless society depends on which side of the taxation fence you sit.

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