Cashless Does Not Equal Crimeless
A push towards making Malaysia a cashless nation will not eliminate financial crime or corruption, and may make the country more vulnerable to criminal activities around online transactions, warns Dr Muzaffar Syah Mallow, Senior Lecturer at the Faculty of Syariah and Law at The Islamic Science University of Malaysia.
Writing for major Malaysian news organisation Astro AWANI, Mallow explains that, while many people enjoy the benefits of cashless payments, they are not without their own unique risks. He cites figures from the Commercial Crime Investigation Department of the Royal Malaysia Police that show over 8,000 cybercrimes were reported between January and October last year, with victims reporting losses of almost RM300 million (€66 million or $67 million). In the entirety of 2017, cybercrime loss was only around RM184 million.
Mallow says e-finance and e-commerce transactions are a frequent component of cybercrimes in Malaysia, with credit card fraud also proving to be a serious problem.
We should not rush into making our society cashless.
Mallow advocates better education on the risks of online transactions, and training on best practices around safety and security, alongside a review of national law to ensure it is keeping up with modern, online crime.
Cash offers an additional option for times when providing personal details—such as name and address, card or bank account details—could prove risky. It also supports privacy and anonymity, and remains an essential payment method for those unwilling or unable to make use of cashless alternatives. Its resilience to power and internet outages also mean cash will remain an essential component of global economies worldwide for the foreseeable future.