Small businesses in North Queensland are considering transitioning to a cashless model in an effort to protect staff and prevent theft. The decision comes after recent break-ins and robberies targeting local businesses, leaving owners and employees feeling vulnerable.
The use of cash in Australia has been steadily declining, with cash payments making up only 13% of all transactions nationally in 2022. However, approximately 7% of Australians still rely heavily on cash for in-person transactions.
Annee Nguyen, owner of a coffee franchise, made the decision to go cashless after her store was targeted by thieves. She wanted to ensure the safety of her young team members and create a more secure environment. Despite initial nervousness about customer reactions, Nguyen has received positive feedback and has educated her staff and customers about the transition.
Kylie Johnson, owner of a fast-food franchise, is also considering the financial impact of going cashless after her store was robbed twice. Johnson worries about the potential loss of elderly customers who prefer using cash over digital payment methods. However, she acknowledges the importance of staff safety and hopes to find a balance between the two.
The Townsville Chamber of Commerce recognizes the growing interest in cashless models among small businesses. However, they emphasize the need to consider not only physical safety but also cybersecurity risks associated with digital transactions. Reliable internet connectivity and low digital literacy among customers in regional and remote areas pose challenges to adopting cashless technology.
While transitioning to a cashless model can provide safety benefits, small businesses must also absorb the financial costs of deterring criminals and the mental anguish caused by theft. Economic factors and tighter margins further compound these challenges for small businesses.
Overall, the decision to go cashless for safety and security reasons requires careful consideration of both physical and online risks, as well as the potential impact on customers and financial viability.
– ABC North Queensland: Rachael Merritt
– ABC News: Sharon Gordon