Who needs cash?

One of the things that Kiwi’s have definitely got right, is their ubiquitous use of EFTPOS. Unlike Australia where it really seems like a big hassle, it is commonly used in New Zealand and for good reason. There is no minimum amount required for EFTPOS purchases, people frequently spend just a couple of bucks. The services for whatever reason is lightning fast, there were a few times when I’m sure it would’ve take the cashier longer to bag my items, take my money and count out change as opposed to simply hitting the EFTPOS button, and bagging my goods while I settle the payment in a flash.

I don’t know why, but for some reason in Australia it takes ages for the EFTPOS machines to initially connect to the bank servers, and then the payment processing seems to take a few minutes. I don’t understand why it’s done so much better in NZ, I can’t imagine they would have better internet connectivity to justify the speed increase, but for whatever the reason, NZ is so much closer to being cashless than Australia, and for that reason they get the thumbs up.

2 Replies to “Who needs cash?”

  1. That’s interesteing to hear compared to the situation here in Japan. Here, credit cards are not so popular, and eftpos is even less popular. The only places I have found that allow some type of eftpos is big stores where you are likely to spend lots of money on things like washing machines, TVs, furnature, etc.

    Due to this, I have become quite used to using cash again. So it came as a shock when I was in New york for a holiday and EVERYONE paid for EVERYTHING with credit cards. So much so that twice we had to seek out special ticket booths which accepted cash – most just took credit card. And when I was buying some clothes and said I wanted to pay with cash i got a suprised look, followed by “oh… you’ll have to go over to that register then…”

    The exciting thing in Japan is that the preference for cash is now pushing them towards a real “e-cash” model. There are various cards you can get – Suica and Pasmo are the most popular – the cards have an IC chip in them. You charge the card with cash, then that card can be used as cash. There is no connection to a bank, because the “cash” is stored on the card and it’s a simple, local transaction that takes place as far as the consumer is concerned. Just touch the card to the sensor (you din’t even need to take it out of your wallet) and “Pi” – it debits the card, shows you how much it is taking out and how much is left.

    This all started as a type of train pass, but it has expended to buses, vending machines, coffee shops and now some restaurants. I can only see it growing more.

  2. I love the idea of a cashless society. I know Hong Kong have something similar to the Pasmo card you mentioned with their public transport passes which they call “Octopus Cards”, same deal with the electronic chip in it, you can charge it with card, and use it to pay for all public transport, and small purchase at the 7-11’s.

    NZ also has Txt2Park which is pretty, you can pay for parking via SMS and they charge your phone bill, that’s another way you can get rid of cash, bring it on!

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