In a growing worldwide trend, Australia is forecast to be almost cashless by 2024. The report from financial payment giant FIS, estimates a staggering 98% of money transactions in Australia to be cashless in as little as three years.
The trend in preference for cashless payment solutions is one that was already on the rise prior to the COVID-19 pandemic. The ongoing coronavirus global crisis however, has only accelerated the demand further, as merchants and customers alike are looking for ways to improve sanitary standards. An estimated 26,000 types of bacteria, including extra nasty ones such as E. Coli are suggested to live on the average banknote according to one piece of research from Mastercard and the University of Oxford in 2014. With that in mind, it’s no wonder people have been looking for more hygienic options for transactions moving forward into a post-pandemic economy.
Cashless transactions are preferable to cash for many reasons in addition to being more hygienic. The ability to easily cancel a lost or stolen card from a banking app on a smartphone is a big win for many people who may otherwise be prone to losing money in the form of notes or coins. For governments and banks, online transactions are beneficial for helping reduce possibilities for money laundering and fraud, as well as chasing business and individuals for tax purposes.
Critics of the cashless economy however lament this increasing control and integration with global financial systems. The hegemonic power of cashless economies will be potentially harmful to the amount of individual freedoms and small localized economies between people that are currently possible.
The trend looks set to stay however, with Australia, Canada and Sweden all leading the way in going cashless. Sweden is another example of an economy that is likely to be near cashless by 2024, with a WorldPay Global Payments report indicating a minuscule 0.4% of all Sweden’s transactions to be in cash in only a few years.