Should Australian Federal Government Mandate That All Shops Have EFTPOS/Electronic Payment Options?

Every time I walk past a whole bunch of eateries, in particular in the more ethnic parts of Melbourne the stores either-

  • accept cash only
  • say the machine is "broken"
  • make you pay a surcharge for the use of the machine

With the latter, sometimes the added cost is reasonable, other times not so.

Whilst we can all agree that big businesses who pay no or next to tax are detrimental to our economy, so are the steady stream of small shops who refuse to do the right thing.

Personally, I'd love to open a cafe, but I know that I would never be able to compete with immoral operators, who live in the cash economy.

What I'm proposing is that federal government make is illegal not to have functioning electronic payment options, that the banks offer the service for a piecemeal amount, say $50 per month and that shops therefore no longer have surcharges.

What do you think?

Poll Options

  • 227
    Yes
  • 416
    No

Comments

  • +103 votes

    Unless the government is going to provide the facilities at no cost to businesses, it would be extremely dubious to mandate businesses pay private companies to be able to accept payment.

    Governments mandating people patronize a private institution always ends up in kickbacks, embezzlement, misappropriation… See superannuation for more details.

    • +2 votes

      May as well nationalise the banks while we’re at it then!

      And make it illegal for supermarkets and restaurants to throw away food, llike in France where they enforce food bank and composting schemes. And to do that we need every business to have a FOGO bin.

    •  

      Why can't the gov. subsidize for it? Assuming the math works out of course. If the tax avoided by all these cash only transactions, plus the opportunity lost by the banks to use these funds (i.e. inter lending with interest, etc) because of the cash being held outside, plus <insert other stuff here> is X amount and the cost of subsidizing for mandating all stores use it but the fee to the banks are subsidized is Y amount, then if X > Y it is worth doing.

      Haven't done the maths, so no idea. Maybe someone can.

      It should include other indirect costs/opportunities, i.e. money laundering from physical cash, counterfeits, increase cost of cyber security if everything is digital, etc. on both side of the equation.

      Until someone does the math, anyone taking making claims one is better than the other is just mouthing off blind opinions..

      •  

        You have taken out morality from the equation. Without morality, it may be financially justifiable for government to mandate certain forms of payments through private providers in the name of the greater good. I don't think anyone can dispute that electronic payments will result in higher tax revenue.

        On face value, almost all suggestions sound like great ideas but don't discount the human factors. If human nature is removed, both anarchy and communism can work

    • +1 vote

      I like how you boldened "dubious" when you obviously don't know what it means.

  • +16 votes

    What happens if the machine really is broken?

    If anything the Australian Federal Government should continue to mandate that Cash (within limits) are accepted everywhere.

    • -19 votes

      But don't we have nbn /s

      There, of course would be instances like the one you postulate, however, if the machine keeps 'going down' reguarly, then that's a red flag

      • +1 vote

        So you want to make it illegal for electronics to break?

        The NBN comment was sarcasm, but its not just the machine being broken that can cause issues but also network connectivity.

        Pretty much, the operator doesn't have that much control if the eftpos machine isn't working. Also, the surcharge isn't a surcharge from the sale, it's just being passed on to you from the cost of the electronic service itself.

  • +8 votes

    of course. everything need to be in digital.

    also should put all credit card, ID, licences, train tickets, etc in one chip and put in under our forearms. no need to carry anything just our hand and tap/wave.

    • +2 votes

      Digital Drivers licenses in NSw are coming - https://www.service.nsw.gov.au/digital-driver-licence

      •  

        Interesting to trial it in Dubbo since the demographics there wouldn't represent NSW let alone sydney metro

      • +7 votes

        It's funny isn't it? DON'T USE YOUR PHONE WHILE DRIVING.

        Cop pulls you over.

        Can I see your driver's license.

        Pulls out phone.

        Okay, using your phone while car is on, that's $450 and 4 demerit points.

        • +12 votes

          I think every state treasurer just jizzed themselves.

        •  

          @tshow:

          Slo Mo can you it to give the banks and his big business mates another tax concession.

        •  

          The law is being changed to allow for you to pull out your phone for the purpose of identification. This includes P-Plate drivers. However, you can only pull out your phone AFTER being asked for identification.

    • -3 votes

      Its illegal to put a public transport chip in your hand.

      • +10 votes

        It's not illegal to put it there - it's against the Transport NSW regulations to not have the full Opal card available for inspection by ticketing staff. It's also against the regulations to tamper with the card. That's very far from contravening the law, though. Very, very far.

        • +2 votes

          It is illegal to not produce the card - so in a roundabout way it is illegal, because you are now travelling without a valid ticket (which is assessed in the law by your ability to produce said ticket).

        • +1 vote

          And if it was illegal, what an obviously stupid law.

          It'd be like those laws that saw you're a criminal if you backup your own legitimately purchased DVDs or video games onto your hard drive, because you are "circumventing DRM". Nothing to do with ethics or morals or justice, just corporations paying off legislators out of pure greed.

        •  

          My demonstrator at university was on the news a few times about that. His name is Meow, so i guess you'd expect eccentric things like this from him.

      • +7 votes

        That's why you just put the whole card inside your hand.

      •  

        you got the right idea but wrong wording, its not illegal, no one goes to jail or gets fined for doing it. It just contravenes the terms of use meaning they wont accept your chip in the body as proper use.

    •  

      Honestly I'd really like this personally.

    • +3 votes

      We should also get cameras on our foreheads that link back to a central system monitored by the Home Affairs dep. to make sure we don't use cash improperly.

    • -1 vote

      i'd actually be all for this, as long as there was an authentication factor involved to disclose the information unless we allowed it. ie we'd have to authenticate to give out our license, ID or any CC transaction over $99. It could even be three factor (chip, pin and something else) for sensitive data like ID or license.

      • +1 vote

        Would you trust the Government (or the private enterprise implementing this) to do this securely? Having all that data in one spot is too tempting to use for other purposes in the future.

        Remember - that Internet filter wasn't supposed to be used for copyright claims, but what do you know…

  • +3 votes

    If the government was to mandate this, then I imagine the government would have to use your taxes to pay the extra fees that are involved with transactions on these devices. I don't want my govt being forced to pay the ridiculous transactions fees involved with using these machines. I think it is pretty fair that small businesses pass on the extra fees for using these devices on to the customer. It is what the service costs to the small business. Suck it up or carry cash.

    • -2 votes

      I think it is pretty fair that small businesses pass on the extra fees

      agree, considering my proposed fee being only $50 per month I can understand a .5% surcharge for example

      • +1 vote

        Accepting that you have probably been conditioned to think that it's acceptable for a vendor to apply a surcharge for using a credit card perhaps, after giving it some serious thought, can you give me a genuine reason for doing so, other than for greed.
        You can't tell me that a business will cease trading because of not applying a 'small' credit card fee. My view is simple, they either swallow the cost applied by the bank, or they raise their prices to allow for it, but don't ask me to pay it as an extra.
        Personally, I pay for nearly everything on my credit card. I work on the basis that if a business will only accept cash, and we all know who those are, then generally they won't get my business.

        • +6 votes

          can you give me a genuine reason for doing so

          What, higher prices because of an avoidable fee aren't good enough for you?

          You're on OzBargain and happy to pay more simply due to the convenience of using a credit card? Shame shame shame.

          Credit card fees can easily knock 5% off your gross income - that's a substantial hit to your pocket. The 'pay less for cash' mantra has been around for a long time, and not just from your local cafe.

          Aldi are one retailer who have no problem in passing the credit card fee onto you.

        • +1 vote

          The whole point is that making the true costs of cards transparent to the end-payer enables competitive forces to work better and bring down these charges.

          You're paying the cost either way with a card, why would you want to pretend you aren't?

          At least this way you can avoid the costs. <ozbargain license revoked>

        • +2 votes

          cockneylondoner,

          When you mention "swallow the cost", it doesn't really mean "swallow the cost", it will be subsidised by those who don't use cards and use cash.

          There is nothing wrong with a business that only accepts cash. Some business owners don't like giving money to banks or VISA/MasterCard.

          I dont like giving my money to Banks/VISA/MasterCard, just for the sake of convenience, and certainly not by default/routine. Most Ozbargainers will feel the same way.

        • -2 votes

          @D C:

          its 1.5% https://www.westpac.com.au/business-banking/merchant-service...

          and the first few $3500+ has no fees

        •  

          @RalX: >

          its

          No it's not, look at your link again.

          The 1.5% is only for EFTPOS, credit cards are a different rate, and not list in order not to scare you off. There are also fees (account, equipment, transaction count, bad debt etc) that need to be considered.

          and the first few $3500+ has no fees

          Yeah nah.

        •  

          How is this for a genuine reason: retailers are not always allowed to alter prices, so can't absorb the cost that way. In my case it's newspapers. The publisher sets the retail price at $1.60, I get about $0.30 of that. If a customer pays with Savings/Cheque I get a $0.25 fee (plus monthly terminal rental.) So I'd have to put up prices of other items to make up the loss. But alot of people only ever buy the newspaper, so it would be other customers paying for someone else's convenience.

        • -1 vote

          @Mattmattmatt:

          Let's look at what the above have stated.

          DC - On the figures you have given in your two posts you would have to spend over $260,000 on cards based on an $80,000 salary - Perhaps you and the five others who agree with you can inform us how this is achieved. And that doesn't include any yearly card fees you may pay. Aldi is one of the most profitable companies in the world selling mainly 'own brand products' at reasonable prices in mostly cheap property areas and with little staff and manages to make extra profit from the gullible Aussie.

          mattythecapybara - You have no idea what you have written about - was you inebriated when you decided to post your comment? Oh, and one other agrees with you - gosh

          Deridas - Something you might like to think about - Cash sale = no traceable record of a transaction so no tax has to be paid, and that includes the 10% GST that you've paid and goes directly into the sellers pocket.

          Mattmattmatt - What you've wrote isn't a genuine reason, it's poppycock. You state that you get 30 cents out of a $1.60 sale so once GST has been deducted (16 cents) that leaves you with 14 cents and you then have to pay 25 cents card fee (that's an incredible 15% plus - who's leg are you trying to pull) which leaves you with -11 cents. Even if my calculation are wrong and all of yours are true, the card fee will be off settleable against tax.

        • +3 votes

          @cockneylondoner

          Which bit do you think is "poppycock"? You don't believe that newsagents receive a low commission or you think I'm making up the eftpos fee figures? I pay 25c per transaction for Savings or Cheque and 0.7% for Visa/Master Debit/Credit/Tap. I don't have a minimum transaction amount or surcharge anymore as most low value transactions are tap which is cheap enough.

          I don't have a reason to lie to you on an anonymous online forum. Maybe you are just dismissing the information I've given you because you have already made up your mind?

        •  

          @cockneylondoner:

          DC - On the figures you have given in your two posts you would have to spend over $260,000 on cards based on an $80,000 salary

          What?

          Aldi is one of the most profitable companies

          By reducing costs. If the bank charges a fee for processing cards then they'll past it onto you. It's a pretty simple concept.

          the card fee will be off settleable against tax.

          Are you one of these people who believes 'tax deductible' means you can claim all it back?

        • -1 vote

          @Mattmattmatt:

          The bit I think is poppycock is the fact that you're taken on a financial arrangement with a bank knowing full well what any pitfall in doing so might be and then bleat in here how under one specific situation you may, or may not, make little to no profit for that transaction and put that event forward as an example of a genuine reason for passing on the charges you have agreed to pay to the bank onto your customer, should you chose to do so.

          Whether the 'facts' you've given are correct or not is immaterial. The only thing I've made up my mind about is that if a seller willingly enters into an agreement where he has to pay for a service offered by another (a bank in this case), and which doesn't benefit the sellers customer other than perhaps one of convenience, but could reap rewards by increasing the sellers turnover, then the seller should absorb the costs that he has incurred or, as in your situation, perhaps reinstate the minimum purchase restriction.

          No doubt you would consider yourself to be an intelligent person so perhaps you'd refrain from writing comments that would lead one to believe that you're not.

        •  

          @D C:

          Oh dear, another stubby in hand reply.

        • -1 vote

          @cockneylondoner:

          On the figures you have given in your two posts you would have to spend over $260,000 on cards based on an $80,000 salary

          I assume your head is inserted in the same bodily orifice you found those numbers.

          Once again. what are you on about?

          Whether the 'facts' you've given are correct or not is immaterial. The only thing I've made up my mind

          Well done. What it like not having to work for a living?

        • -1 vote

          @D C:

          By the hour that you've posted your comment, and its content, I conclude that you've been on the drink again, or drugs, or perhaps both.
          Whatever the reason, go and get some professional help, you silly little man.

        •  

          @cockneylondoner:
          "perhaps reinstate the minimum purchase restriction"

          So we agree then, there are situations where a min transaction or surcharge are not simply "greed". I'm glad I could help you see this.

        • -2 votes

          @Mattmattmatt:

          I mistakenly gave you the benefit of any doubts that I might have had about your ability to post comments which could be considered as those coming from an intelligent person. I shall try to be more careful in future.

          If you're in business, as you purport to be, one would ask how you've managed to survive when you can't distinguish the difference between applying an extra charge 'carte blanche' for card payments (the point I was making) and a notice stipulating a minimum purchase value to cover costs that a small business has (willingly) agreed to pay to a bank.

          Perhaps you should talk to a qualified accountant who will, I'm sure, be only too pleased to take your money to explain the difference to you because I've wasted enough time trying to overcome your mentality.

  • +46 votes

    Cash is the very definition of "legal tender". If a purveyor does not want to incur the costs of having eftpos machines then that is their right. If this means the tax man has a closer look at them because they think they might be dodgy then that is the Government's right. I'm much more concerned about the big boys who are avoiding billions in tax dollars than the odd restaurant that usually sells, frankly delicious, food at a small amount of money. I know it is a big deprevation to have to walk a few hundred meters to the ATM machine or make sure you have cash on you but, by God, I think the OP can gird his loins and do it. Maybe it is because I was born in the 1960s and spent a lot of my life without ATMs, and foreign restaurants for that matter, so this isn't a big deal to me.

    • -1 vote

      I'm much more concerned about the big boys who are avoiding billions in tax dollars than the odd restaurant that usually sells, frankly delicious, food at a small amount of money

      It's all cumulative though, literally 10s of thousands (probably more) small businesses not paying their share of tax, whilsts screwing employees of super, leave loading, etc.

      My opinion has always been, if you cannot run a business and pay your employees legally, then you have no right to run a business.

      • +27 votes

        Just 'cause they don't have eftpos does not mean they aren't paying their people legally.

        • -19 votes

          most dont, Fair Work Australia is adamant about this.

          edit

          It's also a slippery slope, once the dodgy operators start paying their employees cash, it causes more and more operators to do the wrong thing and start withholding things like super

        • +1 vote

          No it doesn't and I am sure that some do :-)

      • +23 votes

        and Just 'cause they have eftpos does not mean they are paying their people legally. Ahem …. dominos, 7-11

      • +8 votes

        Hey rodripa, you can't stereotype all cash businesses and classify them as all dodging tax. Business can be cash only and still declare their true income, and pay their employees standard rates.

        On the other hand, if all businesses use/allows the option of electronic forms of payment, there is a absolute guaranteed winner in all this, that is, the banks/VISA/MasterCard/AMEX. Do you have shares in the banks or something like that? Why are you indoctrinating the Ozbargain crowd to give money to them? Is it because most of us a sensible and pay cash at every opportunity to avoid credit card fees (and use annual fee free Citibank cards) and you're trying to convert us?

        •  

          You can't stereotype every single business but if you've been around long enough you would know that the majority of cash businesses do not declare their full income. Not just cafes and restaurants but tradies etc. Making things electronic removes the option for people to dodge tax.

          Yes banks/credit exchange providers win but there is another guaranteed winner. Australia and all taxpayers who pay the right amount of tax.

        • +1 vote

          @Xastros:

          pay the right amount of tax.

          there is no such thing as a right amount of tax. taxpayer pay taxes depending on how much the each government may get away with.
          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_tax_rates

      •  

        Plus you forget some might be on welfare too.

        Two forms of fraud paid for by the tax payer - the loss of profits and then additional hardship payments because their income is sooooo low, so sad for them :(

      • +7 votes

        It's all cumulative though, literally 10s of thousands (probably more) small businesses not paying their share of tax, whilsts screwing employees of super, leave loading, etc.

        My opinion has always been, if you cannot run a business and pay your employees legally, then you have no right to run a business.

        The last part is far too simple. While I agree everyone should be paid fairly, many restaurants do it tough (no I don't own one, but my partner works in one).

        A restaurant in the suburbs that is busy 2 or 3 nights a week, while trading 7, isn't making 100k a year in profit.

        By the time you take food costs, wages, rent, GST etc, profitability's about 5-10% of turn over.

        Most of these 'business owners' have literally purchased a job, to give you the ability to eat out locally.

        While that's not a great excuse, the lack of reasonable profit is due to.
        - decreased disposable income (as essentials like house prices, utilities etc) go up without wage increases.
        - people expecting to be able to eat out 'cheaply' - see why people are happy to eat at 'Asian' restaurants over western ones due to the price. (You realise WHY the food is cheaper..right?).
        - People not happy when restaurants increase costs (even a few dollars per dish - regular people literally complain, despite the same people wanting pay rises themselves).

        So while it's not really a good reason for having 'cash', a cashless society will literally cause half of the restaurants in the suburbs to close. All those people will then be unemployed and you'll need to go to a select few places to eat out.

        I was pretty ignorant for want of a better word before getting to know the owners of this local, suburb asian restaurant.

        Do you really expect a place to be able to pay $40 per hour for a waitress on a Sunday when their total revenue for the entire evening is about $1200? 2 cooks,1 waitress at $40 an hour for a 6 hour shift $720, excluding payroll tax, super and GST.

        Why even bother running a business?

        Of course, not all places are like this and many highly profitable ones get away with it, but forcing a cashless system would literally kill those small places that are 'local'.

        So it's not you have no right, it would be, you literally cannot. The owners suffer, all those employees turn to welfare (and suffer) and the consumers suffer.

        The alternative? Get everyone ok with paying 50% more for their food when they eat out. Fat chance of that. If it doesn't affect them, no one gives two shyts.

        • +1 vote

          Everyone should still follow the rules. The problem in this case is the rules are not set correctly. The problem is $40 per hour on a Sunday being mandated when people would be willing to work for less.

          Cashless society just makes it fair for everyone in terms of paying tax. You make it sound like these business owners 'purchased a job' out of the goodness of their heart to be able to give us a place to eat out locally. The reality is that they have most likely done it for themselves because they thought for whatever reason it was better than just getting a job with a business owned by someone else.

          I do agree that the whole issue is not as simple as it seems but in my mind better to have it fair for everyone, level the playing field. If that means paying more for Chinese food then so be it. Why should the owners of a dodgy restaurant get unfair competitive advantage over another type of restaurant that has to charge more because they actually pay tax?

    •  

      agreed, example. bupa profit from subsidies yet pay little tax by offshore org. structuring

      double whammy there

      • +1 vote

        Amazon, Apple - all the big boys do dodgy loans and offshore tax havens to avoid tax.

        • +1 vote

          And don't forget Malcolm Turnbull, but all of that stuff is OK because it's 'legal' lols. :)

        •  

          You don't see many OzBargainers crucify them, but if someone in the forums needs help because they got an infringement, people throw the whole nine yards at them.

    • +1 vote

      I think the OP can gird his loins and do it.

      I think that's such a funny phrase, and it allows me to post these illustrated instructions:

      https://www.artofmanliness.com/articles/how-to-gird-up-your-...

  • +19 votes

    If you dont like that they only accept cash, them take you're money elsewhere. that way, they won't be paying tax because they're closed down due to lack of sales.

  • +1 vote

    So basically you're saying that we should eliminate cash because they won't have a purpose anymore.

      • +16 votes

        no excuse

        So go start your own small business and ask the bank what the credit card processing fees are.

        Report back with your finding.

        This post is the opposite of the usual "Paypal fees are too high!" whinge.

        •  

          They are nowhere near as high as Paypal fees. And you can surcharge for them. Places who surcharge between 1%-2% are probably charging close to what it costs them. I am happy to pay that surcharge on every single transaction if it means every business has to declare all their income.

      • +2 votes

        Say that to my local Cafe that has to go out the front and hold the eftopos machine in the air to complete a transaction.

    • +2 votes

      NO, he seems to be saying that we should eliminate cash so tat the government is able to pinch more tax and spend on such vital things as outlined in this article.

      https://thenewdaily.com.au/news/national/2016/02/12/governme...

      Of course 'roads and schools' is the usual reply, and kinda fair enough, but actual essentials only take up a small amount of the money that government pinches from the people who earn it, the rest is wasted as per the posted link or given away to the worlds .1% ers as 'interest' on government loans that shouldn't exist. They even gave around 8 billion of our tax money 'bail out' failed European banks after the 2008 gfc. So screw them, I would never begrudge ANYONE who manages to hold on to more of the money that they earn.

    •  

      In this day and age there is no reason to not have a cashless society. Apart from tax dodging it would also put serious hurt into organised crime.

      •  

        Yes because electronic hacking and cyber crime aren't a thing…

        The online cloud accounting software 'Zero' is so hilariously easy to fraud with Photoshop it's not even funny.

        Ignorant fool.

  • +4 votes

    The Government have already made it illegal to charge an unreasonable surcharge,
    https://www.accc.gov.au/consumers/prices-surcharges-receipts...

    And has proposed laws to make it illegal to pay cash for a transaction more than $10,000
    https://thewest.com.au/politics/budget/cash-purchase-of-more...

    So they are heading towards encouraging electronic payments in a less draconian fashion than you suggest.

    Mandating eftpos would give eftpos an unfair advantage over any new entrants with alternative methods of electronic payment - e.g. how AliPay has emerged in China
    or these days Osko / NPP payments are real-time, so theoretically could be used.

    The faster pressure to have multiple methods of payment will come from customers. I don't patronise cafes that don't accept card as I don't carry change - and in the past 2 or 3 years it has become so everywhere I go has paywave. I find it hard to believe a cash-only cafe would survive for very long.

  • +4 votes

    No.

    I hate not using cash. Using convenient payment processes literally causes you (and I) to spend more money. Then we get onto incentives, tracking and associated marketing which causes further losses.

    • +1 vote

      I believe that some people do not just spend money for associated marketing (aka status/ points), they'd pay to put themselves in tin can cargo class, be hurled across the earth and back, for said incentives.

  • +1 vote

    "Whilst we can all agree that big businesses who pay no or next to tax are detrimental to our economy, so are the steady stream of small shops who refuse to do the right thing."

    I'm sorry, how is only accepting cash not doing the 'right thing'? Or are you one of those 'statists' that I keep reading about?

    •  

      if by statist, you mean someone who expects everyone to pay their fair share of tax and pay their workers a legal wage with mandated entitlements, then yes, I'm a statist.

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