Powered by momentummedia
nestegg logo
Powered by momentummedia
nestegg logo
nestegg logo

Save

Could COVID-19 be the death of cash?

By Grace Ormsby · April 30 2020
Reading:
egg

Save

Could COVID-19 be the death of cash?

By Grace Ormsby
April 30 2020
Reading:
egg
death of cash

Could COVID-19 be the death of cash?

author image
By Grace Ormsby · April 30 2020
Reading:
egg
death of cash

Australia’s uptake of digital payment methods has risen astronomically over the last few years. Could COVID-19 be the nail in the good old-fashioned cash coffin?

According to creditcard.com.au founder Roland Bleyer, there are a number of reasons why the current pandemic could ultimately result in the death of cash in Australia.

In the past month alone, “there has been a definite shift in the way we pay for things, with merchants moving away from cash – and the germs it may carry – declaring their preference for card payments instead,” he said.

Australia isn’t new to the idea of choosing cards over cash, but Mr Bleyer has observed how “as coronavirus continues to assert its influence over what we can and can’t do, Aussies are being encouraged to use contactless more than ever as a way to slow the spread”.

The World Health Organisation has not offered any official advice on the subject, but the Shop, Distributive and Allied Employees Association has – Mr Bleyer has cited the association’s national secretary, Gerard Dwyer, who stated that “cash is a carrier”.

Advertisement
Advertisement

This is why a number of stores now no longer accept cash, wear gloves to handle cash, or state that a contactless payment method is preferred.

It’s a sign of thing to come, according to the founder.

“I think we will see more and more businesses refusing to accept cash. This is going to impact on certain areas of society, the aged sector and those less fortunate – more than others,” he indicated.

What are the benefits of going cashless?

Aside from the germ factor, many businesses do prefer cashless payments – it reduces the risk of petty theft at the cash register.

It’s also an all-around easier and faster method of payment for both businesses and customers.

Combine this with the Australian Taxation Office’s preference for traceable business records, and we could see business stop accepting cash full-stop, Mr Bleyer flagged.

But is it legal to not accept legal tender?

Mr Bleyer said yes, it is.

He acknowledged the “widespread belief that because official Australian coins and banknotes are legal tender, merchants must accept them as payment”.

“However, the law sees it somewhat differently. According to the Currency Act, merchants have certain rights when it comes to accepting payments.”

As a result, a merchant may limit the dollar amount in coins a customer may use to make a purchase, for example, to $5 worth of silver coins, or $20 worth of gold coins, he explained.

“For many Aussies, especially those of the older generation, cash is still king.”

“They like having cash, they like using cash, and they don’t particularly like the idea of having to use anything but cash when cash is still ‘legal tender’,” he acknowledged.

And as to whether a retailer or merchant can choose to not accept cash at all, the law is again on the business’ side.

“According to the Reserve Bank of Australia, merchants are ‘at liberty to set the commercial terms upon which payment will take place’ before the purchase, and refusal to accept payment in legal tender banknotes and coins is not unlawful,” Mr Bleyer said.

“So, as long as the merchant has a sign at the counter that lays out these terms, which is visible to customers before the point of purchase, it is within its rights not to accept cash.”

Could COVID-19 be the death of cash?
death of cash
nestegg logo

Forward this article to a friend. Follow us on Linkedin. Join us on Facebook. Find us on Twitter for the latest updates
Rate the article
author image

About the author

Grace is a journalist on Momentum Media's nestegg. She enjoys being able to provide easy to digest information and practical tips for Australians with regard to their wealth, as well as having a platform on which to engage leading experts and commentators and leverage their insight.

Join the nestegg community

We Translate Complicated Financial Jargon Into Easy-To-Understand Information For Australians

Your email address will be shared with nestegg and subject to our Privacy Policy

About the author

Grace is a journalist on Momentum Media's nestegg. She enjoys being able to provide easy to digest information and practical tips for Australians with regard to their wealth, as well as having a platform on which to engage leading experts and commentators and leverage their insight.

Join The Nest Egg community

We Translate Complicated Financial Jargon Into Easy-To-Understand Information For Australians

Your email address will be shared with nestegg and subject to our Privacy Policy

From the web

Recommended by Spike Native Network

Website Notifications

Get notifications in real-time for staying up to date with content that matters to you.