Cashless society- what will that mean?
Cashless society- what will that mean?
I like cash. Although I don’t carry a lot around with me, I still like to always have some. Covid has brought about a push towards a cashless society but there a number of drawbacks to that. And just to be clear, the is no evidence that suggests Covid can be more readily spread via cash than credit cards and pin pads.
Although over the last 15 years, the amount of cash transactions have dropped to almost 50% (RBA 2020), it is still desired by a number of people, and not just the elderly. According to the RBA, there are 500,000 Australians that do not bank online. These people do have EFTPOS cards but without the debit capabilities.
Moreover, during the pandemic, the value of the currency held in our hands increased as many preferred to have their money in their hands than in the bank in case of an emergency. Although many of us have transferred to card payments, 45% of transactions under $10 are still paid for with cash.
So if we got rid of our cash, there are a number of things that could no longer be part of our culture.
- Pocket Money
This is probably one of the greatest issues that I have with a cashless society as the use of pocket money teaches a child how to save and the value of their money. Children need to understand the ‘cost’ of those treats and how long it takes to save for those larger items. It is only when they handle the coins and notes that this really comes alive for them. The ability for them to see their 'stash' growing little by little promotes saving and stirs excitement when they achieve their goals.
A number on a screen is meaningless to a child. Plus, how many kids have easy access to a device to check their balance? I don’t want my 5 yr old granddaughter to need technology to know how much she has. Cold hard cash will also teach her to count, add up and subtract.
2. Cash jobs – Babysitting, Lawnmowing
As a teenager I babysat for a fantastic family. I loved it when they wanted a date night or a day out during school holidays. What about those that clean cars or windows for their neighbours to earn a little spending money- or for some- money for food. There are so many low-income earners and teens that only survive by being able to pick up little odd jobs to supplement their earnings.
3. Street performers.
Some of these guys are so talented. Warmer weather brings out the street performers and artists to sell and showcase their skills – and get a little tip for it. Many artists got their start on the streets and it is part of the festivals environment that keeps us smiling as we walk though the mall or along the riverbank or beaches.
4.Gifts from Grandparents
Until we were 16, our Nan put $5 into our birthday cards. It may not seem like a lot, but for a woman who only ever worked odd jobs her whole life, this was a sacrifice for her. Her generosity to all her Grand and Great-Grandchildren was felt by us all. It teaches respect. Respect for the life they have lived. Respect for their wisdom. Respect for them.
5. Hobby businesses
Australians love a market or school fare, not only for the food but for the numerous craft sellers. It is often at these markets that new, homemade business sell their products and get their name known. My brother did this. He began selling candles and diffusers at Bondi Markets which took a few weeks to generate sufficient funds to cover the cost of the stall. The added the cost of card payments may be small, but many people are doing this as a hobby and not to make a profit, so this is beyond what they want. Their joy comes from creating the product, yours from buying it. They aren’t in it for the profit, just something to do in their spare time or retirement.
6. Garage sales, Gumtree and Facebook Marketplace
We collect so much stuff that a healthy cleanout is regularly needed and what better way to pass it on is to sell it. I got my first lawnmower from a garage sale and Mum sold a heap of my Dad’s tools on Marketplace when he passed. We always love a bargain and we feel good knowing it will be well loved by someone else when it is too good throw away.
Yes, there will always be Op shops and charities to donate too but when your moving overseas or interstate and the lot has to go, the cash is really handy to have to start afresh.
7. Charity collections
There are a number of charities that rely on our spare change. From containers at registers, to people collecting around Christmas time, every little dollar counts.
8. Buying from neighbourhood growers
The only thing that stops me from buying more fruit and veg from roadside sells is the lack of cash on me. There are so many people that sell their extra eggs, honey, flowers and fruit from home gardens. On a trip with my parents I remember stopping for fresh cherries.....this excess to them is gold to the rest of us.
So no, I do not want to go cashless. I want a culture of sharing. Sharing our skills, talents and goods for a few dollars so that everyone has the opportunity to earn a little more.