Can Australia Go Cashless?


The Cashless Society: Who demands it, do we need it and can we live with it? A view on resilience

The decline in cash payments is pushing central banks globally to consider the resilience in their financial infrastructure. This has raised certain alarms, even at the Sveriges Riksbank (central bank of Sweden), arguably the market whose decline in cash usage has witnessed historic proportions. Instead of praise, this has instead created in-depth reviews and their Governor has even warned about the dangers of rushing into a cashless society, arguing it may lead to a payment market ‘dominated by private players, with no public alternative’. Then there is resilience. Robust business continuity and recovery plans are essential in today’s changing landscape. A key component of strong resiliency is the ability to withstand and rapidly recover from operational disruption. Small cybersecurity crises have nudged central bankers to focus efforts on backup systems, cyber stress tests and incident response plans. However, despite all the technology advances, guess what? Cash continues to prevail in most contingency plans.

Critics of the cashless society point out that vulnerable groups such as the elderly, immigrants and disabled people rely on cash more than others. If cash therefore is a key component of resiliency, why all the hoopla of its demise? As a society, are we even prepared to be cashless?

Don’t miss this panel discussion at APS2018 with our panel of expert speakers!

Melissa Hope
Head of Note Issue
Reserve Bank of Australia
Gijs Boudewijn
Chair of the Payment Systems Committee
European Banking Federation
Gonzalo Santamaria
Vice President – Payments
Currency Research


Additional reading:
Central bankers warn of chaos in a cashless society