With a heightened awareness of germ transmission the use of cash is currently being met with a disgruntled look, or a total ban, but a cashless system beyond COVID-19 is now a distinct possibility.
Head of Accounting at Curtin University, Professor Saurav Dutta, says a reduced use of physical currency even after COVID-19 will become more normal, particularly as modern generations enter the market.
“It’s mostly a matter of habit, it’s not just a matter of one versus the other but what you are more accustomed too,” he says.
The owner of Daisies Cottesloe, Sam Kaye, says the decision to go cashless was based on the safety of his staff, but he has seen many benefits for leaving cash behind.
“Our predominant safety awareness was our staff and making sure they felt comfortable to come into work because that’s the big thing,” he says.
Mr Kaye says the move to go cashless has caused conflict with some consumers, but ultimately is one he feels all cafes should be following during the pandemic.
“It is frustrating when other cafes aren’t following the same protocols because it takes just one case around here, Cottesloe, to close us all down,” he says.
Professor Dutta says the negatives surrounding cashless platforms such as the vulnerabilities of online technology and the fees included for businesses would slow the transition of completely removing Australian cash.
Mr Kaye says the trends pointing towards a cashless society, even before coronavirus, mean it’s something the cafe will consider continuing with.
“Venues and events are generally always card only because they don’t want the risk associated with cash so if you can take the risk out, keep it out,” he says.
According to Professor Dutta, the reduced circulation of cash post COVID-19 would also have serious implications for the black market in the short term, but warns a reduction of cash will not equal a reduction of crime in the long term.