Talking Points: Should Hong Kong become a cashless society?

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Ginny Wong |

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Samuel Leung Man-lok, 13, PLK Lee Shing Pik College

No. Firstly, not all shops and restaurants provide a cashless service. Cha chaan teng and family-run stores have always taken cash for their goods, which aren’t very expensive. Secondly, cashless systems like credit cards or apps need a bank account to work. That’s not possible for many young people. They use an Octopus card, which has to be constantly topped up with cash. Most importantly, we can’t monitor how much we spend if Hong Kong becomes a cashless society. Because we can’t physically see the money in our wallets or purses, it’s easy to spend too much.

Chau Yan-kei, 16, The Methodist Church Hong Kong Wesley College

I think Hong Kong should become a cashless society as it would be more convenient. Many people are worried about credit card fraud, which is when someone uses another person’s credit card, but there are increasingly better measures being put in place to stop this from happening. If everything is cashless, we can check our accounts on our phones to make sure we do not overspend. Many people in Hong Kong already pay through apps like WeChat Pay and Alipay. Some argue that old people will not know how to adapt to a cashless society, but it’s not that hard to learn.

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Fanny Lo Hei-man, 14, Good Hope School

No, Hong Kong should not be entirely cashless. Although it would be more convenient for some and would stop fake money from entering the city, it stops many people from buying things. The very young, the very old, and the very poor, who may not have bank accounts or smartphones, would be lost. Parents would lose control of how much their children are spending.

Many payment apps need mobile data to work properly, which some people might not have or can’t afford. We have trouble with credit cards even now, with people sometimes having to go to the bank to make the payments, so I can only imagine what kind of trouble a cashless society would bring.

Hui Chun-kit, 17, Yuen Long Merchants Association Secondary School

Yes, definitely! Many countries are trying to go cashless. Some already have - just look at the mainland. People there pay using their mobile phones all the time, whether that’s for shopping, eating, or having fun. Alipay and WeChat Pay are accepted almost everywhere in the country. Technology evolves so quickly now that security issues are fixed almost as soon as they appear.

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Tsang Shing-kit, 15, Tang King Po School

I don’t think so. No matter how much effort you put into making electronic payments secure, there would always be risks. If someone hacks your phone, then all your money is lost. A hacker could use your details to trick your friends and family into giving them money, too. Carrying money in your wallet or purse is less risky than using your phone to pay for things.

In our next Talking Points, we’ll discuss: Is it better to study degree programmes in subjects like AI rather than traditional courses like history? We are now accepting your answers for this topic. To take part, email your answer with your name, age, and school, along with a nice, clear selfie (make sure it’s not blurry), to [email protected] by lunchtime on Monday. Don’t forget to include “Talking Points” in the subject line.

Leung Ka-hui, 15, The Methodist Church Hong Kong Wesley College

I think Hong Kong should not become a cashless society. We are not ready for such a great change. Although there are people using e-payments for online shopping, this is not very common yet. Most users are young, or at least not very old. Older people prefer using physical money, because they are worried about security risks, or they don’t know how to use it. There are also people who make money through physical cash payments that don’t through e-payments. Tips are left in cash, for example.

If Hong Kong became a cashless society, these people would make less money.

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Peter Man Chun-ho, 15, Tang King Po School

No. We already have a working system, so why do we need to change it? If we changed it, the government would need to do a lot and put in a lot of money to make it usable. That money could be used elsewhere. Also, old people might not know how to use apps to pay for things. I

Sofia Ng Ching-yee, 15, Henrietta Secondary School

I don’t think Hong Kong should be a cashless society. Not every citizen has a smart phone. Many old people, for example, do not have one. The technology might be there, but not everyone is ready to use it yet.

Face Off: Do Hong Kong people care too much about money?

Marco Ng, 16, Fung Kai No.1 Secondary School

Of course Hong Kong should be a cashless city. The biggest advantage to this would be that it is more efficient and cost-effective to use apps to pay for things. There’s no figuring out how much change you need to give back. Furthermore, if you go abroad now, you need to exchange your money for their local currency. If the whole world became cashless, you wouldn’t have to do that – all you need to bring is your phone.

Tony Lau, 18, Fung Kai Liu Man Shek Tong Secondary School

Yes – a cashless society would be quicker and more convenient for many people. If you think about it, Hong Kong is already halfway there. We have the Octopus card, which can be used to pay for a lot of goods now. What’s one step further? Most Hongkongers are capable of going cashless, they just need that push to get there.

Edited by Ginny Wong