Australian Newsagency Blog

A blog on issues affecting Australia's newsagents, media and small business generally.

Is cashless retail an option for newsagents?

Mark Fletcher
August 21st, 2018 · 10 Comments

Here is a short piece about cash retail I wrote and shared with customers of my POS software co. on yesterday.


Over the last ten days in the US on three occasions in different shops I had to switch from a cash purchase to using a card as they did not have enough money to make change. The change needed was $27, $16 and $32 respectively. In each case they did not have enough change in their til and, hence, asked me to pay by a card.

Near our office in Melbourne, Cannings the butcher switched to cashless trading three or four years ago,

Recently, we were offered a tenancy at Malvern Central shopping centre and had decided if we went ahead with the planned gift and collectibles shop we would do so as a cashless business.

Being cashless can cut time spent banking, reduce employee theft opportunity and reduce the cost of change mistakes. While there are downsides for sure, that more and more businesses are switching indicates valuable upsides.

We mention this in our email today so it is on your mind and part of consideration for your own shop.

Going cashless needs planning from an operational perspective as well from a shopper communication perspective. While not for everyone, it is proving to be successful for plenty.

I think this is relevant to newsagents as we are as affected by retail changes as any other retailer. However, the scope and intensity of change confronting us is amplified by print media disruption, migration of lotteries online, changes in buying habits of stationery shoppers and more. While we cannot stop these changes, we can be aware and lean-in.

Going cashless is an option to contemplate for retailers without lotteries or any other agency business that doe snot involve payouts. While for sure there would be some shopper pushback, I can see plenty of upside as I note in the article above. On fraud alone there could be significant benefit. The challenge here is that the majority of newsagents do not know the cost of cash related fraud in their businesses until someone is actually caught.

I have shared this article today not to advocate but, rather, to put the topic one the table for contemplation and discussion.


Category: Newsagency management · newsagency of the future

10 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Graeme // Aug 21, 2018 at 12:17 PM

    A very interesting Post. Cashless is the way everything is going especially with the youth. They scan with their mobile for cofee and for Rail and Bus Travel as well as all higher priced products.
    Some Cafes, many in the Country areas will not even take efpos it’s Cash only.
    With Newsagents and others with payout considerations such as Lotto prize payouts after a big win such as the $100 mill last Thursday many newsagents were “cash” short and had to go to the Bank for more cash. Many asked their customers to come back later (much to the annoyance of some)
    There needs for any business before going “cash” only, full consideration to the model they operate and especially the customer needs .


  • 2 Steve // Aug 21, 2018 at 4:36 PM

    The lotto payout conundrum will be the biggest sticking point for newsagents going cashless. Even if your eftpos machine was capable of depositing cash back into accounts it will turn customers off and they will seek out newsagents that pay cash.

    Too many customers like to have the win in cash, so it’s theirs without their partner’s/families knowledge, that making it a traceable bank transaction will loss you business. Then there’s the, mostly elderly, customers that don’t trust paywave and would be annoyed at not being able to buy a paper with a handful of shrapnel.

    Going cashless is great marketing ploy in some businesses which rely on a young connected demographic. For better or for worse newsagents aren’t one of those businesses and unless you throw the shingle away and start again never will be.


  • 3 Colin // Aug 21, 2018 at 8:47 PM

    Going cashless is not an option I had customers wanting to spend$1 and pay by card or a $1.10 scratch its and pay by card this would cost us money and if I asked for a fee you only get in a argument I am here to stay in business and not to make the banks rich. On the customers perspective they will loose all their privacy at a press of a button any government department can establish where they were when and what they done when and there goes your privacy big brother is watching you!


  • 4 Graeme // Aug 21, 2018 at 9:00 PM

    Colin, the point is, it is an option for the consumer. I agree it dosen’t suit newsagencies, however we are in retail and we need to handle this. Our option is not to go card only and make our customers aware that we do both.
    In retail we will attract those that relate to what we represent.


  • 5 Colin // Aug 21, 2018 at 10:19 PM

    Steve – disagree about older people. They do use paywave and what’s more, many find it easier than using cash. I reckon it is the male aged 45-65 who is the bigger cash issue. Guess why ?

    Colin – take a day out , try doing anything you please without cash. If you are not already aware, you will find it incredibly easy to achieve everything with just a card.

    Graeme – let the Lott worry about their cash issue. Maybe we will progress to putting payouts onto payment cards.


  • 6 eric // Aug 21, 2018 at 10:51 PM

    in china cashless transaction is not by eftpos tapping. it is by scanning the QR code very efficient. the fee is next to nothing not like what the bank charging here is like a pirate.


  • 7 Graeme // Aug 22, 2018 at 6:48 AM

    Colin- Your customer is your customer- they may also be lotteries customer.
    Do you want to drive them to shopping on line whereas the Lott will credit the Bank account?
    No thanks I want to keep my customer coming into the store.


  • 8 Colin // Aug 22, 2018 at 8:22 AM

    Graeme.. I never said I am against cash. My stance is we should be welcoming of all customers however they choose to pay. I get a lot of new lottery business from luddite stores who will not take cards for lottery. More fool them. Go with the flow is my stance, don’t fight it, embrace it.


  • 9 Graeme // Aug 22, 2018 at 8:52 AM

    Colin in the post above you said to me “Let lotto worry about their cash issue”I answered it I said nothing about you being against cash I only commented on the direct remark you made to me.I have answered it.


  • 10 Mark Fletcher // Aug 23, 2018 at 5:57 AM

    From what I have seen in Australia and elsewhere cashless shoppers came from all demos.


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