‘Big wake-up call’: Optus network outage sparks urgent calls to safeguard against cashless society

Nov 17, 2023
For Cash Welcome campaign coordinator Jason Bryce the recent Optus outage served as a "big wake-up call" regarding the vulnerability of digital transactions while highlighting the need to preserve access to cash. Source: Getty Images.

For a staggering 12 hours on Wednesday, October 8 a sweeping outage plunged millions of Optus customers into a communication abyss, rendering them incapable of making or receiving calls and disrupting the seamless flow of transactions.

The outage underscored the growing dangers of relying heavily on interconnected systems as we embrace a digital-first approach. Businesses, consumers, and government agencies were caught off guard by the abrupt loss of connectivity, shedding light on the extent to which our lives are entwined with technology.

For Cash Welcome campaign coordinator Jason Bryce the outage served as a “big wake-up call” regarding the vulnerability of digital transactions while highlighting the need to preserve access to cash.

“There are often issues with EFTPOS and we’re left dealing with cash,” Bryce recently told Sunrise.

“Young people, old people, prefer cash. Sure, lots of people like to tap-and-go, but there are some times when we all need to use cash and some people use cash every single day.

“They rely on (cash), they trust it and we’re just asking the government to make sure that we can access cash in our local community and we can use cash to buy food and groceries.”

Bryce is intensifying the push on the government to secure access to cash with an online petition that has already garnered an impressive 150,000 signatures and counting.

“Banks are deserting towns and suburbs and leaving Australians without ready access to cash and banking services,” the petition read.

“Millions of Australian consumers and businesses trust and rely on cash for their everyday needs and for budgeting purposes. Even Australians that don’t attend banks or use cash regularly need access to face-to-face banking services and physical money sometimes.”

As the debate around Australia’s move toward a cashless society continues to rage on, equipped with the right guidance and strategies, this transformation can be an empowering and seamless endeavour.

Embark on your journey into the world of digital payments by initiating transactions you’re already familiar with and tapping into the assistance of friends and family. These indispensable suggestions lay the groundwork for a seamless transition.

  1. Start with the basics: Begin your cashless journey by incorporating digital payment methods into everyday transactions, such as grocery shopping or bill payments. This gradual approach allows you to build confidence with routine purchases before venturing into more intricate financial dealings.
  2. Educate yourself: Dive into the wealth of online tutorials, guides, and workshops that unravel the intricacies of digital payment platforms. Familiarise yourself with the features, security protocols, and terms of service to empower yourself with the knowledge needed to make informed decisions.
  3. Lean on tech-savvy support: Should you encounter any hurdles along the way, seek guidance and support from tech-savvy friends or family members. Their expertise can provide valuable insights and help troubleshoot any challenges, making your transition smoother.
  4. Practice patience and perseverance: Embracing a cashless lifestyle requires time and adaptation, so be patient with yourself during this transformative period. Understand that transitioning may take time, and by embracing the learning process, you’ll find that practice truly makes perfect.


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