There have been mixed reactions to the news that Woolworths was planning to go cashless, with some expressing fears of technological failures and some even likening it to a sign of religious “end times”.
This comes after a picture of a notice from Woolworths going cashless from January 16 went viral on social media.
Some social media users went as far as referencing the Bible, citing the book of Revelation chapter 13, versus 16 to 18. They alleged that going cashless related to the verses in the way which it speaks to the need to be marked by number to buy and sell. As now a cashless system by means of card or cellphone numbers, would be replacing the traditional use of physical cash which does not necessarily link to the identity of the person, in order to buy and sell.
Woolworths said the plan had been in the pipeline for a while.
“Certain WCafes have been experimenting with cashless systems for a while, and various WCafés will soon accept card and digital payments only,” Woolworths told the “Cape Times”.
According to the retailer, they had trialled the initiative before rolling it out and saw positive feedback from customers.
“Before each WCafé goes cashless, signage will inform customers of the move to cashless in the weeks leading up to the change.The WCafe team will continue to monitor the progress of this shift over the coming months. It’s important to note that this applies to certain WCafe’s only. Customers will still be able to pay for the Food, Fashion, Beauty and Home purchases with cash if they choose,” Woolworths said.
Transitions to cashless payments is nothing new, as last year, among the winners of the Africa Tech Festival Awards included Vodacom Tanzania, which intended to develop a computer system that will integrate M-Pesa (a mobile money service) and Bureau de change.
The intention was a move towards creating a cashless society to motivate the use of transferring money in M-Pesa instead of carrying large amounts of cash on hand, to decrease theft or loss that might occur during movements to and from the Bureau de change, as well as speeding up transactions.