A pro-cash advocate has revealed just how much card payments are setting back businesses and customers as he warns against a cashless society in Australia.
Cash Welcome campaign coordinator Jason Bryce claimed EFTPOS machines are costing businesses thousands of dollars a year due to monthly fees and surcharges.
Mr Bryce calculated each machine was setting back a business about $200 a month, with some using numerous machines to process payments.
Speaking outside of Footscray Doughnuts and Coffee, in Melbourne‘s west, Mr Bryce said the costs added up for small businesses.
‘It costs thousands of dollars a month for a standard, average business like this one, a coffee shop behind me, to accept card payments,’ he told Sunrise on Tuesday.
‘And if your volume goes down, your fees go up. So whatever happens, the bank or the phone company, the telco, is clipping the ticket on the way through.
‘Sure, lots of people like to tap and go, but there’s some times when we all need to use cash and some people use cash every single day.’
Customers are often paying a little bit extra as well with some businesses palming off the surcharge fees to them.
Mr Bryce has been at the forefront of the cash movement after both his bank and local supermarket refused any cash payments during the Covid-19 pandemic.
Cash transactions have drastically decreased since the pandemic, with some businesses and bank branches still continuing to not deal in physical currency and leaving battlers without their preferred payment.
Mr Bryce said that businesses ‘need to be able to accept cash’ if not for Aussie’s sake but for their own with transaction and monthly fees costing ‘thousands’.
He said that people use cash to budget and save money in a time where interest rate rises are causing Aussies to tighten their spending.
‘(Cash) is just getting too hard to get, bank branches are closing, ATMs are closing and as soon as there is an outage we are stuck,’ Mr Bryce said.
‘Our economy isn’t inclusive anymore.
‘Without cash, our economy is weaker because retailers and consumers are more vulnerable to computer failures, bank system outages and even online criminals.’
Mr Bryce described last week’s Optus outage as a ‘big wake up call’ for Aussie businesses and customers to turn to using cash.
Business owners across the country were left scrambling without reception or broadband last Wednesday after an outage struck the telecommunication giant.
Businesses on the network reported having issues with communicating to customers with some having to close for the day.
Mt Druitt service centre ANZCO Automotive told its customers it would likely close shop for the day.
‘For the time being, we will not be operating. Due to this outage our entire system is not operating,’ business owners said.
Stewy the Snake Catcher on the Gold Coast informed his followers online that he was affected by the widespread outage.
‘We are aware of a major outage across the Optus network, and I myself am with Optus’ he wrote.
‘We apologise in advance if you try to get through to us this morning and are having trouble. Hopefully they rectify the issue ASAP’.
Other businesses, such as Argo on the Square and Delish in Adelaide, were forced to revert back to cash-only transactions.
A petition created by Mr Bryce calling for businesses and banks to support cash payments has been signed by 150,000 people since March.
The petition advocates for Aussies to be able to ‘have reasonable local access to cash and full banking services’, and to ‘choose cash when paying for food and essentials at physical retailers’.
‘We will win this war on cash, if we can keep going, pushing governments to protect our rights,’ the petition reads.
‘Other countries are protecting cash and Australia must follow.’
Australia is lagging behind the United Kingdom, the European Union and the United States who have all moved to pass legislation that protects those who use cash.
‘We need to be able to choose how we pay for stuff, whether it be tapping or whether it be cash,’ Mr Bryce said.