Is Australia’s transformation into a cashless society already in motion?

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Cash is becoming less common in everyday life, with most transactions in Australia carried out electronically using tap and go, bank transfer, direct debit, or credit facilities. Cash is estimated to only make up 6% of the value of all transactions in Australia. Researchers predict that Sweden will stop accepting cash by March 2023, with cash only accounting for 2% of the value of transactions in the country. China may move towards digital currency before Australia, as high internet usage and increased mobile payment usage due to the COVID-19 pandemic contribute to a push for digital currency. The Chinese government has created digital yuan, though concerns have been raised about privacy. Meanwhile, the Australian government has developed the New Payments Platform (NPP) to allow for instantaneous peer-to-peer electronic money transfers. While concerns have been raised about the most vulnerable in society being disadvantaged in a cashless society, UNSW Professor of Economics Richard Holden believes a cashless society would not disadvantage anyone once systems are in place. He suggests a move towards digital currency in Australia could be a phased transition where the larger bank notes are removed first, gradually followed by others over a three-year period. Holden believes Australia could be functionally cashless by 2030.

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