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Say No to the “Cashless Future” – and to Cashless Stores (aclu.org)
61 points by dredmorbius 68 days ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 24 comments



The thing I don't like about the move to cashless most, is that it is very much centered around payment systems in the private sector. It makes the middleman compulsory. Our Australian government is moving to make all payments over $10,000AUD cashless only. Thus making middlemen practically compulsory. If government wants to seek their means of deanonymisation for money laundering, make sure that there's an easy way to do that without middlemen taking a cut.


> If government wants to seek their means of deanonymisation for money laundering, make sure that there's an easy way to do that without middlemen taking a cut.

Ah, but that would mean their mates at the big 4 would not get their fat bonuses.


This is slightly better in some places. I can, for instance, issue a Faster Payment to another UK bank account. This takes seconds. It's fast enough for payment transactions. And intermediates like GoCardless make this easier and for very small sums (£2 fixed, no upper limit).

I completely agree though. If your bank's aren't going to guarantee anything tighter than a 3 day turnaround, they're useless here.


Cash is freedom in ways that the "bank payments society" [1] (which people refer to with the euphemism "cashless") can never be. Cash is also resilient in ways that the "bank payments society" cannot be.

"In Praise of Cash" [1] is a fantastic essay on this. HN discussion on that from 2017. [2]

[1]: https://aeon.co/essays/if-plastic-replaces-cash-much-that-is...

[2]: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=13782561


I am not an economist, but in this world of negative interest-rates (now common in Europe), another reason for cashless is to prevent people from keeping cash at home, behavior that make sense when the bank is making you pay for having a positive account.

And as a cryptocurrency enthusiast, this cashless trend is also a way to make it harder to hide your crypto assets: hand-to-hand exchange of cash against crypto is indeed one of the best anonymization way.


It's basically a way to make bank runs illegal.


You have to pull out cash from the bank for a bank run to occur. Can't you buy gold or some other cash substitute instead?

Could be even more difficult to detect than abnormal spike in cash withdrawals via ATMs.


Spending money is taking money out of your bank account. Any event where more money leaves a bank than they have reserves to cover it is a run on the bank. I think what you may be elluding to is that digital transfer of funds makes the effects of a bank run different than than when cash is involved, since real money in hand cash is much more limited than a bank’s total reserves.


How?


[flagged]


Cash is freedom - from not having to give your details on small purchases, and from money deposits you have no control over, and which can be taken away from you by governments, including those of other countries. I can't understand why Scandinavians, and in particular Swedes, are so busy heading into a dystopian future with mandatory cashless payments, when they're otherwise very much libertarian (in the original sense) and freedom-loving folks.


So without insulting people who disagree with you, what's your source? Does it apply to all business types?


This seems silly. Accepting cash endangers the lives of employees and generally enables all sorts of financial shenanigans. Rather than attacking the business, the ACLU should address the structural issues that prevent people from participating in the mainstream economy.


> Accepting cash endangers the lives of employees

It's not unreasonable to assume you live in a normal part of the world where having money doesn't mean you get murdered.


Cashiers get assaulted —and much worse— all around the world for relatively small sums. Do you suppose they would if there was no cash to steal?


I've once went to a strip club in Hawaii. Stripper just grab a 1 dollar note and cleaned the strip pole with it.

US dollars are one of the most yucky currencies. First you have 1 dollar note that is pointless at this economy. Then, they are still made of paper. Finally, amount of cash in use is astonishing. From my XP NZ is 99.99% cashless, while Lithuania about 95% (I don't carry any cash tho and ignore business that don't accept cards - they usually are not paying tax).

Also wanted to reiterate how amazingly convenient digital banking has become in EU. I've signed up for Monese - in about 5 minutes of digital verification I've got IBAN account setup and a debit card sent to my home address. That's longer than I had to wait on a phone to get by traditional bank account reactivated.


I am aware of how nice the EU is, but that's not really germane. I was making the point that holding cash does not equal getting killed unless you live in a very bad part of the world.


> Rather than attacking the business, the ACLU should address the structural issues that prevent people from participating in the mainstream economy.

But, that's exactly what they're doing here. Businesses are an institutionalized, structural component of society and, believe it or not, cash purchases are still part of the mainstream economy.

I know you mean that the ACLU should be focused on making plastic accessible to those who don't have access yet, but I think it's worth acknowledging that the issues with going full plastic might be significantly more difficult to tackle than simply preserving the existing payments system. If we're addressing the systemic inequity behind access to banked payments we're going to have to solve issues pertaining to financial stability, proof of identity and reform an incredibly large, complex bureaucracy which has been designed to exclude the people who don't have access. While you're busy addressing the broader systemic inequity of our finance system, the people who you're trying to help are still going to be facing exclusion by businesses who have gone cashless.

If we accept the premise that a cashless society is a desirable end goal and the very true fact that it isn't the fault of vendors that people have been systemically excluded from newer payments systems, we should also acknowledge there isn't an easy way to fix that. Until that's fixed, it will be up to these businesses to choose whether or not they're going to act in a way that excludes customers with cash.


>> Accepting cash endangers the lives of employees and generally enables all sorts of financial shenanigans.

Financial "shenanigans" seem to be more likely with credit/debit cards actually.


I think the shenanigans referred to are on the part of the merchant (not reporting income, stealing from the till or enabling bribes) rather than the consumer (card fraud, etc.)


There's something like 2 trillion dollars laundered annually, and a lot of this happens through shops that use anonymous cash transactions to do it.


Source?


> "The estimated amount of money laundered globally in one year is 2 - 5% of global GDP, or $800 billion - $2 trillion in current US dollars. Though the margin between those figures is huge, even the lower estimate underlines the seriousness of the problem governments have pledged to address."

https://www.unodc.org/unodc/en/money-laundering/globalizatio...


I meant source for "a lot of this happens through shops that use anonymous cash transactions".

$2 trillion in $10 bodega transactions is 200 billion bodega transactions. Something tells me it's not the silver in the till that's the main problem. Or even the notes.


Agreed. Plus there's a complete loss of anonymity with ubiquitous credit card use.




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