Starbucks has a prominent notice: “Responsibly Cashless”. Avoiding the costs and dangers of handling and transporting cash and the associated bank charges — including the likelihood of cash not making it to the till in the first instance — will surely be in the owner’s interest and justifiably so. That is on the proviso that the sales lost would not be at all significant as affluent and tech-savvy customers tender their telephones. It is not a conclusion the owner manager of a small stand-alone enterprise in control of what goes in or out of the cash register will come to. For them cash is still king.

Starbucks and other cash refusers are probably within their rights refusing legal tender. Only the notes and coins issued by the Reserve Bank qualify as legal tender in SA — money that cannot be refused in proposed settlement of a debt. But it presumably can be rejected when offered in exchange for a good or service. The SA Revenue Service (Sars) would probably approve of a cashl...

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