Coffee from a cafe that doesn’t take cash

Angus Kidman 8 September 2016

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Because we need caffeine a lot more than we need coins.

It's the usual cafe story. I order a skinny flat white. I pay for it by tapping my Visa card. I weigh up giving a fake name but then worry that I'll not respond when someone yells out "Algernon".

There's only one small difference: I wouldn't have had the option of paying with cash. The first Brisbane branch of coffee chain Pablo & Rusty's doesn't have any way to pay other than by card. Is this surprising? No. Really, it's more surprising that there aren't hundreds of places across the country following the same policy.

We already know that Australians have taken up contactless payments faster than anywhere else in the world. We haven't been hanging around waiting for Apple Pay and Android Pay to arrive so we can do it with our phones; we're perfectly happy using a credit or debit card, especially for small payments and when we're in a hurry. Contactless is the new normal.

Underscoring this point, Pablo & Rusty's doesn't have any signs up proclaiming it to be a cash-free environment. The crowd of office workers who come in straight after me pay with their cards without a second thought. This is what we do now.

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I noted earlier in the week that, contrary to widespread belief, businesses aren't obliged to accept cash as a method of payment. If you don't want to pay by card at Pablo & Rusty's, you'll just have to go to another cafe. And while there's no shortage of those in the Brisbane CBD, I can't imagine it being a dealbreaker for anyone over the age of 16.

Angus Kidman's Findings column looks at new developments and research that help you save money, make wise decisions and enjoy your life more. It appears Monday through Friday on finder.com.au.

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