The unfair assault on cash!

Written on the 8 May 2020


By ATM2GO Director Jenny Marsh

Cash has taken yet another unjustly beating by the media in recent weeks. Even though the World Health Organisation has categorically denied it, cash is still being accused of spreading Covid-19 which has prompted a number of businesses to declare that they no longer accept cash.

The assault on cash has been ongoing for years, but the media certainly ramped up the talk of going cashless when banks started the mass removal of ATMs. This was of course after the sudden announcement by one of the banks that they would now be providing free transactions to all (which of course the others all followed). To justify the removal, we were led to believe that "we" as the public didn't want to use cash any more.  Google "Nudging" and "cashless" - it makes for interesting reading.

With such a huge portion of their ATMs removed, to counter a network that was now costing an arm and a leg to operate,  the banks pushed their EFTPOS solution on to shopkeepers.  EFTPOS still gives the banks financial gains without the costs of running an ATM network. In fact, it's now the merchant not the bank paying most of the fees, and I guess it's the consumer really who is ultimately paying as the merchant has to increase their prices to cover their costs. Let's stay tuned in the coming months to see how these EFTPOS fees sit with merchants when they receive their monthly statements.

There's no tracking (or judgement) with using cash! For all those people who have an issue with downloading the CovidSafe app due to privacy reasons, please sit down! It may horrify you to know that your spending habits are easily tracked with digital payments. It's not hard for someone to find out that I prefer to shop at Woolworths rather than Coles, and that I'm a regular contributor to Bunnings' bottom line. 

Cash has been and still is a great budgeting tool. When I tell people what I do for a living, I often get opinions that echo the thoughts of the media that cash is dead. These people too often are not managing their weekly household on a strict budget,  which is especially relevant at this time when for some, households budgets are pretty tight.

At a time when it's easy to panic the general public, why don't we give picking on cash a rest. The Government talks about getting businesses up and running again, well our business relies on dispensing cash, so give the scare tactics a break! If you go into a public place you wouldn't handle the gates, hand rails, public toilet doors and then touch your face, and we are not suggesting you do that with cash. Most retail workers I've seen are sanitising their hands after dealing with each customer anyway, so how are they possibly at more risk by dealing with cash than handling any other goods?

Don't remove payment choices from consumers, apply some common sense and WASH YOUR HANDS!

For articles on the use of cash during Covid, please follow these links.

This article is based on personal opinion and personal experience in the ATM industry.

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