Aussies have lashed out at the country’s rapid shift towards becoming a cashless society as the disastrous Optus outage forced many to revert to cash payments.
The telco sent Aussies scrambling following the nationwide tech failure on Wednesday which was first reported at around 4am.
At least 10million users were unable to make or receive calls and texts, with internet service down for more than nine hours.
The blunder left thousands of businesses across the county unable to operate their EFTPOS machines due to the blackout.
The meltdown forced customers to pay for services using cash, causing consumers to now rail against moves to reduce ATMs and bank branches which prevent them from withdrawing cash.
One TikTok user who goes by the name @giggles_in_the_dark captured the sentiment of many Aussies opposing the accelerated move to a cashless society.
The woman filmed a furious rant outside an IGA store that had put up a sign that said ‘Cash Only…EFTPOS is down,’ with the supermarket apologising for the inconvenience following Wednesday’s outage.
‘The fact this s*** still happens and yet the Australian government is removing banks and atms to make it even harder to get cash out is such a f***ed thing to do,’ the woman said.
‘Make society cashless, no, f***ing we need cash.’
Aussie have lashed out at Australia’s move to becoming a cashless society and said the Optus outage on Wednesday was proof the nation should not embrace the rapid move to getting rid of cash
The Optus outage on Wednesday forced thousands of businesses to revert to cash payments after internet and mobile services were cut
The user captioned the video with a terse warning which read ‘Give us back our ATMS and banks let us be a cash society shop controlling us when you can’t control these issues’.
Thousands of viewers commented on the post as many agreed that cash was needed even though most financial transactions now occur electronically.
‘Yesterday (Wednesday) proved to everybody that the world is f***ed without cash when computer systems have glitches in them Hackers can fix the problem,’ one user wrote.
‘I believe cash is king… We all need to start using it again,’ another said.
Others said the banks were to blame for the cut in numbers of ATMs.
‘It isn’t the government removing banks and atms. The banks make those decisions. But a cashless society? Yeah great idea!’ one user wrote.
Some said going cashless was a just a matter a of time and people should get used to it.
‘[We are] going cashless, move on or be left behind,’ one person posted.
Data from the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority in October revealed 424 bank branches closed in the year to June.
The number of ATMs has also steadily declined in regional parts of Australia with 124 bank branches closed in six years.
Since 2017, 1,600 bank branches have closed across Australia.
Several business owners told Daily Mail Australia that Wednesday’s outage was a dire warning about the perils of a cashless society.
Peggy Zaromias, the owner of Nick’s Handbags in Bankstown in Sydney’s west, said abandoning cash altogether would stifle the operations of many small and family-run businesses.
‘I’m old-school – I still prefer cash, not just business-wise but for everything,’ Ms Zaromias said.
‘When they turn around and say, “We’re going to go cashless” – well, that’s ridiculous.
‘If something like (the Optus crash) happens, then what?’
Thousands of bank branches have closed across the country as Australia rapidly moves to become a cashless society
Peggy Zaromias, the owner of Nick’s Handbags at Bankstown in Sydney’s west, told Daily Mail Australia that the move to a cashless society would impact small and family businesses
Independent payments market expert Lance Blockley estimated that by 2025 traditional cash would make up less than 4 per cent of total retail purchases across the country.
The Commonwealth Bank, ANZ and NAB have all opened cashless branches where customers are directed to ATMs for ‘everyday banking’.
Commenwealth Bank chief executive Matt Comyn told a Senate inquiry this year that it cost CBA $400million to make cash available for its customers.
Optus is yet to provide a detailed explanation about the source of Wednesday’s outage but have so far blamed the widespread blackout on a technical issue.
The company announced users who are on its post-paid mobile plans would get 200 gigabytes of data as a result of the outage as a ‘reward’ for their loyalty.
Optus chief executive Kelly Bayer Rosmarin earlier refused to consider compensating customers for the outage period after she said ‘refunding people for one day is probably less than $2.’