Australians have cast warnings about a completely cashless society following a major outage by telco giant Optus.
Optus is experiencing one of the biggest outages in Australian history with millions of customers impacted, as well as hospitals and businesses.
The outage was first reported at 4am on Wednesday with Optus mobile users saying they are unable to make or receive calls and texts, with the internet network and home broadband also down.
Aussies have flooded the internet with commentary warning against a totally cashless society as the outage affects online activities such as internet banking.
‘#Optus Outage should give you enough reason why we as a country should never go fully Cashless,’ one post on X read.
‘Imagine having cashless in our country and having no internet access due to outage, we’re doomed #optus,’ another said.
‘The #Optus outage this morning is exactly why we cannot go cashless,’ a third post read.
‘When the phone’s are down how are people going to pay for stuff? All those saying we need to go cashless need to STFU’.
While another warned: ‘With Optus going down this morning and the stupid wanting a cashless society…..think about that, no phone, zero purchases’.
Other carriers that use the Optus mobile network like Amaysim, Vaya, Aussie Broadband, Moose Mobile, Coles Mobile, Spintel, Southern Phone and Dodo Mobile are also down.
The telco said it was aware of issues affecting some customers but is yet to explain the system failure.
‘Optus is aware of an issue that may be impacting some of our mobile and internet customers,’ a spokesperson said.
‘We are currently working to identify the cause and apologise for any inconvenience.
‘In case of an emergency, customers can still call 000.’
Melbourne’s train network also shut down earlier on Wednesday, leaving many commuters stranded.
It’s believed this was a result of the Optus outage.
Metro Trains have since confirmed services have resumed but major delays are expected.
The outage follows recent warnings that Australia could become a cashless society sooner than expected with big bank orders for banknotes plunging to a new low.
The Reserve Bank, a wholesale distributor of banknotes, last month revealed that commercial bank orders for cash during the last financial year were only a third of the usual annual level.
‘The use of physical cash for day-to-day transactions has been declining for many years, as consumers switch to digital payment alternatives,’ it said.