RBA must protect our right to use cash

The Reserve Bank of Australia recognised the essential role of cash in the economy in last week’s Payment System Board update:

The PSB noted “the importance of the community continuing to have good access to cash withdrawal and deposit services, even as the overall use of cash for transactions declines.”

However, unlike the RBNZ, the RBA does not propose concrete actions to protect the cash economy. The RBNZ’s Deputy Governor Geoff Bascard recently announced the establishment of a new department to protect the role of cash.

“We have recently created a new department, the Money and Cash Department,” said Geoff Bascard, “to think broadly about a future that serves the money and cash needs of New Zealanders.

“This includes smarter ways of cash distribution, as well as innovative solutions to emerging risks.”

The RBNZ has proposed new powers to require banks to provide access to cash through ATMs and branches.

In Australia, more than seven thousand ATMs have been removed from communities in the last three years. More than two thousand ATMs have disappeared in 2020.

“Australia needs an active cash system to compete with digital and mobile payments,” said Tim Wildash, CEO of Next Payments, Australia’s largest independent ATM network.

“The RBA reported that cash is relied upon by at least six million Australians. We believe financial regulators need to be taking action to protect our access to cash.”


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