Cashless businesses face consumer boycotts as people claim it denies freedoms

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Businesses that ask for cashless payments are facing backlash and boycotts from a section of the community that believes refusing to take cash is an infringement of their personal rights.

Facebook groups such as Call Out Cashless Businesses, which has attracted about 9,000 members since it was created about three weeks ago, encourage members to name and boycott businesses that do not accept cash payments.

Melbourne resident Mike Palmer, who created the group, said his opposition to cashless businesses was about “freedom of choice”.

He said he wanted the group to create enough pressure from consumers to discourage businesses from moving to cashless payment.

“We need to teach these businesses ‘Hey, absolutely. It’s your choice — you can make that choice to refuse cash’,” he said.

“But all choices in life come with consequences and if that’s how you’re going to be, then you’re going to lose customers.”

Some campaigns arguing that cashless payments are a denial of people’s freedoms and rights started to emerge at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020.

‘Right to access and use cash’ 

With an increasing number of businesses refusing to accept cash for hygiene reasons, online petitions were launched including one to protect the “right to access and use cash” by law.

There are currently no laws to stop businesses from refusing cash payments.

One petition with more than 117,000 signatures started in 2020 said: “Shops and retailers who do not accept cash deny the public the freedom to choose how they wish to pay for goods and services”.

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