Tuesday, 16 June 2009


“If you make money your god, it will plague you like the devil.” - Henry Fielding

A childhood memory I have is being given a traditional clay money box in the shape of a fat bell (see picture!). I would put there all the coins that I had and rattle it every day to hear the jangle of the metal against the clay. Learning about saving money was quite an important lesson and when the clay money box was broken, it was satisfying to see all of the hard-saved coins gush forth. I can’t remember what I bought with that money, but many other money boxes followed that first one, metal, wooden, plastic…

Coinage was the first type of “proper” money that was devised and it looks as though it may be the first to become extinct. A news item today reports that Australian Central Credit Union chief, Peter Evers, predicts that loose change will be a thing of the past within ten years. He quoted the situation in Hong Kong and Singapore where already low-value transactions by coin have all but disappeared. What has replaced them is a rechargeable, pre-paid card that can be used everywhere cash would be used.

In Australia, we may soon see a similar situation with technology stepping in to make coins (and perhaps all other forms of “cash”) a thing of the past. We all know about credit cards of course, but they are not legal tender and they attract fees. The technology now exists for “credits” being put in microchips, on mobile phones, on cards, or on an internet-enabled account that can be accessed by wifi. In some holiday resorts a chip on a wristband that can be scanned for credits and the owner can purchase anything that their chip can afford…

The Australian Reserve Bank’s Payment Systems Board is investigating all of these options and is preparing to move Australia to a cashless society. Surprisingly, not much “selling” of this idea has occurred within the population and most people are unaware of it. Needless to say that many may be dead against such a cashless system. People feel safe with cash in their pocket and even nowadays, some are against credit cards. To move towards such an abstract system of credits is quite foreign to most of us.

So, I wonder what sort of moneyboxes kids will save their allowance in the future? Most probably an electronic chip embedded somewhere on their person. Dad will scan his chip over junior’s and perhaps one may even hear the electronic sound of a penny dropping?


  1. Such a cashless society is not my dream either. And I don't want to have a chip implanted into my body. It's likely we will read "How To Gain Points To Your Credit Card" tips in soon future.