CHOICE membership

Apparitions of a Cashless Society


Heh, just add it to the govt mandate to have a mobile phone “just in case” the landline phone dies.


Just my 2c - I’m with the CBA, and they give you the ability via a phone app to arrange to withdraw cash at a CBA ATM without having your card present, which I have occasionally found useful when forgetting it. I’d hope other banks offer similar.

I also have my debit MasterCard number, expiry and CVV memorised, which has also been useful on occasion for the same reason. It depends if a business will / knows how to do a MOTO transaction using their EFTPOS machine.


Per the problem with Visa, all transactions that would be cleared through Visa (eg any transaction with a bank visa debit card or app depending on the visa debit routing) was down. When that happens it matters not whether you have an app or anything else, excepting a mastercard or amex not using the visa network remained up, as examples.

While the Visa crash was in Europe my Aussie issued debit card behaves quite differently there than at home, eg no EFTPOS options are presented; and the crash is symptomatic of how fragile a cashless society would be.


An article claiming that the cash payment system in the UK could collapse within 2 years.

What to do with all that money under the matress?


Our friends over at Which? are campaigning on this issue:


I’ve lately been seriously considering drawing a bulk lot of cash for day to day stuff, and abandoning my Apple Pay. Just considering, mind you.


Has everyone considered how many companies have gotten in the queue to process payments?

Visa, Mastercard, Diners, Amex, GooglePay/AndroidPay, ApplePay Bpay, paypal, … , …, …

It must be a very lucrative business, with most ‘late comers’ skimming their bit atop underlying credit cards that take the basic ‘skim’ from all of them; the ‘pays’ are certainly not into it for altruistic purposes. Convenience? The databases the ‘pays’ of all sorts develop re our buying habits must be valuable and thus lucrative! (what a surprise).

It reinforces how much we are the product in the cashless society. Governments watch and wring their hands in anticipation of the dividends and donations from ‘pays’ companies flowing and flowing.


If government makes a decision to move towards a cashless economy, or it is allowed that businesses can only accept cashless options, then one should expect that it is legislated that consumer fees associated with use of cashless option are also removed.

Why should consumers be forced to use a cashless option which forces them to pay fees either directly or indirectly, when historicially the cash option had none.


Well stated.



Remember back to when pay packets actually had cash in them? No one knew what you spent your money on and the ‘black/cash’ economy was strong. That lack of information and control is seen as a weakness by Government.

It’s all about tracking spending and receipts and cross-match it. It will be a big earner for Government. (Probably not so big when you calculate in the cost of the necessary systems and resources to do the work vs the amount of money recouped.)

Eventually, I expect the ATO or law enforcement will be asking how you came by the amount of money you have spent, when you income is only know to be $xxx.

Equally, the ATO will be able to cross match the income declared by businesses with the aggregated amounts shown to have been spent on the pay by (all the cashless entities) sites. More power to the ATO to collect taxes!

The very top end of town will probably continue to be able to afford to manipulate the system so they don’t pay tax unless the current loopholes are closed, but that’s another story.


I walked away from everything ‘Apple’ in 1989 … never looked back :wink:


Definitely! The issue is causing a fair bit of upset in the UK. In Australia, the RBA mandated surcharges to send a pricing signal to consumers to encourage competition among payment systems instead. It seems we still typically have the option of cash or card in most instances and usually with planning we can choose at least one of them for free.


Law enforcement is already able to ‘confiscate’ items they allege are gained illegally, and so there are fights by ex-partners of criminals trying to hold onto the family home, for instance (in WA).

In the US it’s worse! Civil confiscation allows governments (state and federal) to confiscate money from people they suspect of having gained it in a criminal way. Many of the agencies that do the seizing get to keep the cash as part of their budgets. One young (yes, black) man had $16,000 in cash that he was taking to produce a music video in Hollywood. Drug Enforcement Administration officials happened to board the train upon which he was travelling, searched his bags, and declared that the cash must be drug money. No charge, no trial, just “we’ll take that”.

So governments are already trying to demand to know how you came by that money you have under your mattress, and if you can’t explain it you may well lose it.


Yes they do that for criminal cases, but I foresee a time when they will be doing that via automated systems to everyone. Sort of like Robodebt was for Centrelink, but used for everyone could be called Robosucker.


They have been for a number of years…using data matching and interrogation technologies. The AFR had an article about it last year…

The ATO also has been linking assets and income for about a decade…this is why one needs to use a TFN to partake in any non-cash financial transactions (e.g. linked to bank accounts or investments/super) and I beleive also uses data from other government departments and agencied to determine if income disclosed equals income received.


Quite right. Hadn’t thought that through had I. :thinking:


It is interesting to observe the system in another economy. One that has long held onto to cash in preference to payment by credit or bank issued cards. Japan!

Yes you can pay by credit card in Japan some of the time and not use cash. The more universal Japanese solution is much simpler. For some time customers have been able to use a loaded card to pay for travel services in the form of SUICA or PASEMO cards and several lesser brands. The cards are preloaded with credit and topped up the same as a QLD Translink GoCard or NSW Opalcard. The Japan issued cards are however fully interchangeable in use. IE you only need one brand or type for all.

The other major difference is that in Japan many other services can now be purchased using the credit on the cards. From vending machines for drinks to meals at food chains! Tap and go is also becoming the way to go in Japan using one simple universal solution. No room or need for Applepay or any other competitors.

The cards are reloaded Yen for Yen and debited on face value. There are no added on charges compared to using cash for transactions. I think you can even add an app to your mobile to replicate what the Suicard and Pasemo stand alone cards provide?

There are 6 state reasons, a territory or two and some very significant vested bank card/business interests that most likley stand between Australian consumers and a similar universal digital debit card for Oz?


I’m not familiar with the system, but it sounds like it’s working well in Japan. It would be great if we could learn from this example, but I won’t be holding my breath for any rapid positive change.


Many travel websites have guides to the various cards and their compatibility. If you’re visiting Japan, they can be very useful indeed. ( I have had a Suica card since they launched in 2001 )


That the Suica Card is anonymous is certainly appealing. But perhaps one reason why the world of Boogle, VISA, Apple Pay and our Bank tap and go options will do just about everything possible to lock us to data tracking credit based services.

Our Suica cards were issued simply in exchange for putting a bank note into a machine and asking for a card in return. The card provider keeps a refundable deposit from the first load. You provide zero personal details. Everything is tap and go. When the balance goes low you find a reload machine, place the card on a reader, and feed the machine another bank note. No fees no, no loss, no ID required.

True there must be a cost. These are obviously between the merchant and Suica Cards parent. However it makes no difference whether you pay with a card or cash. The price is the same!

@BrendanMays has it spot on with his observation.