In a plea against the push towards a cashless society in Australia, Cash Welcome campaign coordinator Jason Bryce has revealed the substantial financial setbacks businesses face with card payments.
Bryce emphasised the burden of EFTPOS machines on small businesses, asserting that monthly fees and surcharges could tally up to $200 per machine, impacting establishments like the Footscray Doughnuts and Coffee in Melbourne's west.
Speaking passionately outside the coffee shop, Bryce noted:
"It costs thousands of dollars a month for a standard, average business like this one to accept card payments. If your volume goes down, your fees go up. So whatever happens, the bank or the telco is clipping the ticket on the way through."
Bryce contended that the move towards a cashless system excludes certain demographics, highlighting the importance of cash for budgeting and savings, especially as Australians navigate economic challenges.
The advocate, who faced cash refusal during the Covid-19 pandemic, stressed the vulnerability of businesses and consumers to system failures, exemplified by last week's Optus outage.
Bryce insisted that a cash-inclusive economy is crucial for resilience against such disruptions, pointing to international precedents in the United Kingdom, the European Union, and the United States, where legislation safeguards cash transactions.
His petition, with 150,000 signatures, calls for local access to cash and banking services, positioning the campaign to shape Australia's payment landscape.