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RBA governor Michele Bullock’s warning about the crash of cash

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“The challenge we face is that as the transactional use of cash declines, it impacts
the economy of providing monetary services and putting pressure on the monetary distribution
system,” he said.

Earlier this year, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission approved the merger of the country’s two largest cash transport companies, Linofox Armaguard and Prosegur.

But Bullock said Linofox Armaguard has now indicated that its business is unsustainable as cash flow continues to decline.

Reserve Bank governor Michele Bullock said people may have to travel further to access cash.Credits: Walter Peeters

He said that many countries face the same issues, that one option is the creation of a single part of the cooperative owned by different organizations that will be responsible for the movement of money.

“There has been a range of policy and legislative responses contemplated abroad, including measures to maintain access to and acceptance of cash, and to promote wholesale cash distribution arrangements,” said he.

“We continue to closely monitor developments overseas, although the diversity of policy options being considered suggests that solutions tailored to Australian circumstances are
needed.

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“It might be worth exploring the merits of a co-operative model in Australia.”

Bullock said another issue is access to money, especially in rural and regional areas.

“The decline in the use of cash is also challenging the provision of retail cash services.
This has been evident in the significant reduction in the number of cash access points
in recent years, including ATMs and bank branches,” he said.

“Despite this, the distance people need to travel to access cash services has changed little in recent years. But this may not be the case in the future if access points continue to decline.”

Bullock said the new payment systems will likely require their own laws next year.

He said while mobile wallets have grown in use, the costs associated with them have remained “opaque” while potential competitors face barriers to access.

The use of buy now, pay later has also grown.

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