The cash debate and the war on cash

calendar iconJun 18, 2018


In a nutshell, the cash debate refers to the ongoing discussion about whether or not cash should be abolished.

The war on cash is waged by governments seeking more control over their people, and private companies seeking to monopolise the payments landscape. Their reasoning? That cash should be abolished because of association that it has with tax evasion, crime and terrorist funding.

However, this is a weak argument as there is no evidence concluding that eliminiating cash will put an end to any of these illegal activities. If criminals don't have cash, they will conduct their shady business by trading with other goods, or worse, with people. Meanwhile, a cashless society would leave law-abiding citizens at greater risk of cyber crime, vulnerable to losing their entire financial independence with just one click.

Download our white paper, Keeping Cash for clarity on the cash-crime misconception.

Download our white paper, Virtually Irreplaceable, which makes a case for cash as a public good.

Cash supporters argue that the most widely accepted payment option should always and rightfully be available to the public. They believe that the demise of cash should only occur if the people choose to stop using it but not as a result of artificial incentives forced upon the public by self-interested policymakers.

Excerpt from Business Insider article

There is a global push by lawmakers to eliminate the use of physical cash around the world. This movement is often referred to as “The War on Cash”, and there are three major players involved:

1. The Initiators
Governments, central banks.
The elimination of cash will make it easier to track all types of transactions – including those made by criminals.

2. The Enemy
Criminals, terrorists
Large denominations of bank notes make illegal transactions easier to perform, and increase anonymity.

3. The Crossfire
The coercive elimination of physical cash will have potential repercussions on the economy and social liberties.

Read full article here


Desjardins, Jeff. 'Governments have declared a war on cash'. Published 19 January 2017.

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Last year was packed with cash-related headlines. Once an obscure topic, the cash debate is now a household conversation, covered by news outlets such as the BBC, The Financial Times, Forbes, Reuters, Bloomberg, CNNMoney, Forbesand Business Insider among others. Why? Becasue #CashMatters.

About the Cash Matters Movement
Cash Matters #CashMatters is a pro-cash movement, which channels the voices that support the existence and relevance of cash as an integral part of the payment landscape now and in future.

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Last Updated: Aug 17, 2019