All cashless is not good for Australia

Is it wise for Australia to become a fully cashless society?

The coronavirus pandemic has led many Aussies to use contactless payment systems instead of physical cash, whether it's using their card or their phone (think Apple Pay). According to a survey by Mastercard, 44& of Australians said they're using cash less often since the pandemic began.

It's not hard to imagine why, in the middle of a global respiratory pandemic. 80% of respondents in the Asia Pacific said they saw contactless payments as a cleaner payment option. In the future, 75% of Aussies in the survey said they'd keep using contactless payments once the pandemic is over.

"Consumer behaviour around payments has seen a shift since COVID-19, which has transformed the daily lives of Australians," Richard Wormald, Mastarcard Division President Australasia, said in a statement in April. "Australians are looking for a safe, clean and secure way to pay, which has seen contactless card and device transactions surge.

It is clear that this is the preferred way to pay, now, and for the future." But Australia going completely cashless – as in, totally ditching cash and cheque payments – isn't necessarily the best option, according to some experts.

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The cashless society from an ethical point of view

The debate about the move towards a cashless society has been at the center of the scene for several years, now. Various angles have been taken by economists, politicians, banking institutions and sociologists. Beyond the technicalities of the debate, lies the question of freedom, of inter-citizen solidarity and of governmental responsibility. The debate cannot remain in the hands of financial specialists, it is first and foremost an ethical, political and societal issue.

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