CASH, CASHLESS AND COVID19.
Written by- Mariam Sadaf Imam.
Since 2020, the world has been needlessly and senselessly ravaged by the corona virus pandemic. It has left wounds on friends and families that will take decades to heal. Thriving economies have fallen and nations have been set back by years in terms of advancement. While lockdowns and standard operating procedures are necessary to curb the raging virus, rapid changes in SOPs have taken a toll on the people’s mental psyche.
In the daunting midst of all this, fear has managed to dig its suffocating claws into people’s souls and released a sort of anxiety that has rarely been witnessed throughout history. This fear is making them do things that are the product of nothing but panic of national proportion, fake news, and conflicting reports from multiple sources of information, licensed or otherwise. As a result of this, people have resorted to practices borne out of paranoia to avoid the spread of the disease. One of them is going cashless. Vendors and businesses have been greatly affected by the pandemic lockdowns, with many of them actually closing up for good. While desperate times call for desperate measures, logic shouldn’t have to take the brunt end of the situation.
While it is every business’s right to implement their preferred method of payment, it is a little more than inconvenient for many to assimilate in a cashless society for a plethora of reasons. Some don’t have payment cards or applications, others may be trying to not use cashless alternatives due to personal reasons, technical hiccups in repayment, or security concerns.
When asked to give his opinion on the matter, this is what Myocho Kan, the founder of myKITA, had to say,
“It is understandable that many are worried, if not paranoid, that touching money is a risk of C19 infection. However, up to today, there is no conclusive scientific evidence in money as the carrier of the C19 virus.”
He went on to explain how the lifespan and survivability of the virus varies on different surfaces, subject to a number of factors, including, but not limited to temperature, humidity, and type of surface. He also explained that unless or until the law itself is changed, refusing to accept Malaysian ringgit as a form of payment is an offence.
“Section 10 of the Currency Act 2020 has specifically provided for the legal tender,”
The tremendous amount of information regarding that pandemic has resulted in confusing SOPs. Fearfulness has also resulted in many unnecessary rules and procedures.
“Cashless society is definitely a trend that nobody can avoid, but the principle behind the cashless alternative needs to be thoroughly understood and not misused. It is all about convenience and relevance, where it is most relevant to shop-on-couch. However, shopping and patronizing a physical shop is a totally different story. Nevertheless, cashless is not wrong, it is about the relevance in the current ecosystem and legal framework,”
Myocho further elaborated.
People all over the world are exhausted and have reached their wits end due to the virus. They have started doing things that feel right to them and while it is their prerogative and they are allowed to live the way they prefer, businesses and vendors alike need to understand that as a brick and mortar outlet, they are expressly prohibited from refusing to accept physical cash with the Yang Di-Pertuan Agong’s likness on it.