Malaysia is aiming at becoming a cashless nation by 2050 and along with that goal, a lot of cashless payment application and method is sprouting throughout the country.
The real question is, are you ready for the change? Let’s examine the pros and cons of transitioning to a fully cashless Malaysia.
Benefit # 1 Reduction In Violent Crimes Like Robberies
One of the reasons why keeping large amounts of cash in the bank is safer than at home is because physical cash is an easy, tempting target for criminals. Snatch theft and robberies are threats that Malaysians are all too familiar with.
With the widespread use of cashless payments, Malaysians will be carrying much less cash on their persons and shops will not need to keep money in their cash registers, which will reduce the incentive for robbers and snatch thieves.
Furthermore, one of the attributes of cash is its anonymous nature. Anyone who holds the physical notes and coins can spend it. Even if you were to lose your mobile phone or credit cards, you can simply notify your bank and stop your cards or linked accounts from being used.
Benefit # 2 Increased Convenience (No More Long Queues!)
We’ve all experience this: We ran out of cash, and need to hunt for the nearest ATM, only to see a long queue of other people also waiting to use the ATM. Time is running out, and we’ll be late for our next appointment.
Cashless solutions solve this problem, since there is no need to head to a physical location with limited machines. Every mobile phone is a personalised service centre in your pocket, ready to exclusively cater to your needs.
Benefit # 3 A Paper Trail By Default
One of the biggest benefits that come from going cashless is the fact that every transaction implicitly leaves a paper trail. This means that every transaction and expenditure you make is recorded.
This is good for analysing your own spending patterns so you can make informed decisions, as well as making it harder to hide unethical payments or make illegal transactions with unsavoury individuals.
The transparency and permanence that these paper trails provide a strong deterrent to corruption and might be a strong tool in improving good governance and rule-of-law that Malaysians have been wishing for.
Drawback # 1 No Power Or Connectivity, No Transactions
The one thing that cashless transactions depend on is of course electricity and connection to the network. Unfortunately, even occasional stoppage of electricity or internet connections can be hugely inconvenient and adversely businesses.
Perhaps cashless solutions providers need to come up with a solution that would still allow allow transactions during network outages, with terminals that have emergency battery power to tide through temporary electricity stoppages.
Drawback # 2 Online Thieves
While street burglars can’t steal your cash because it is stored online, it is still vulnerable to online hackers who can either compromise the financial institution or your individual account. Hackers can steal your money without even being anywhere near you.
Widespread adoption of cashless systems is dependent on the trust consumers can have on the system, which is built upon strong security features and robust processes for recovering money and undoing damage from hackers in the event there is a security breach.
Drawback # 3 Being Tech-Savvy Is A Must
Going cashless means everyone has to know how to use a computer or a smart phone. This wouldn’t be an issue for Gen-Z or Millenial Malaysians, but what about the older generation who did not grow up with Internet?
If Malaysia were to go cashless, we need to invest time to onboard older Malaysians to not just know how to make cashless transactions, but to fully understand the concepts like password security, two-factor authentication, e-wallets, and more.
There currently are already multiple online accounts that the older generation have access to but aren’t really regularly using, such as EPF, Socso and personal bank accounts.
In a cashless world, forgetting your password is a big problem. There needs to be a good way to properly authenticate older folks who may not be as familiar with technology and online services – since carrying a Buku 555 to jot down all our passwords isn’t the most secure option.
Is Going Cashless Good Or Bad?
Going cashless and enjoying the convenience and power that it brings is certainly something we can look forward to.
However, as with all new technologies, there are flaws that still need to be worked on. Going by pace of progress in the tech world, you can be confident that these improvements will be made in quick time.
Who knows, maybe in 2050, the shiny green RM50 paper will just be a historical artifact preserved in the national museums?
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