Visa Wants to Helps Small Merchants Go Cashless; ATMIA Calls it a ‘War on Cash’

By Toni Lapp

July 27 – Taking aim at Visa’s recent “cashless campaign,” the ATM Industry Association is going on offense. In its position paper, titled “Cash Is Good for Society,”  the trade association takes Visa to task for its recent campaign that will offer awards of $10,000 to 50 eligible U.S.-based small business food service owners if they go cashless.

 The ATMIA position paper decries that there is a “war on cash” being waged in the mass media, led by major card brands.

“Cash remains the number one form of global payment as well as the number one back-up plan when systems fail,” said Mike Lee, CEO of ATMIA. “It also provides a bulwark against cybercrime, a tool for financial inclusion and household budgeting as well as an important asset in the armoury of central banks for ensuring monetary stability and balanced levels of national spending.”


In a statement, the ATMIA said it is good industry practice to promote payment choice for both consumers and merchants, and called for a “peaceful coexistence” between digital and cash payments.

Visa, for its part, said in an announcement about the challenge that it is “aiming to create a culture where cash is no longer king.”

In a release, Jack Forestell, head of global merchant solutions for Visa Inc.,  called the challenge “an incredible opportunity to educate merchants and consumers alike on the effectiveness of going cashless.”

The card-cash rivalry can be followed on Twitter. Here are some samples:

Curiously, Visa doesn’t have a monopoly on the #CashlessChallenge hashtag; the moniker @CashLessChallenge as well as the url are in use for a campaign by Tanzanian banks and mobile money operators.  That campaign points to some of the virtues of going cashless, such as offering transparent transactions. Participants are encouraged to use noncash payments for three days, and post about their experiences using the hashtag cashlesschallenge on Twitter.

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