Domino's plans to ditch the use of cash in its Australian stores, starting with a trial to use only electronic payment options at a handful of stores across the country.
The "tap and take" system will be available at five stores across New South Wales and Queensland from today to reduce in-store queues and delivery wait time, the company's Australia and New Zealand chief executive Nick Knight said.
"The Domino's ethos has always been about increasing convenience for our customers — even being the first pizza company in Australia to offer home delivery all those years ago," he said.
"Just as the name suggests, customers simply need to tap their card, phone, smart watch or finger on the keyboard and take their piping hot meal as soon as it's ready — it's as simple and easy as that.
"In addition to increasing convenience for our customers this new model will increase safety, with zero cash kept on the premises or carried by our delivery experts."
When asked if the fast-food company would be trialling the "tap and take" system in New Zealand a Domino's spokesperson told the Herald: "We will be carefully reviewing the results from Australia and taking feedback from our customers here in New Zealand".
Knight said the growth of tap-and-go payment systems through mobile payment technology throughout the retail sector has meant the use of cash is slowing.
"We're now heading towards a very real future where the legal tender could be solely electronic, so it's important that we remain digitally agile and continue to meet consumer demands," he said.
The Reserve Bank of Australia says the refusal to accept payment through banknotes and coins "is not unlawful", but the controversial move by Domino's is sure to cause a stir among a community who oppose the shift to electronic payment only.
Libertarians have raised concerns about a crackdown on the cash economy in the past, including former Liberal Democrats Senator David Leyonhjelm.
A Domino's spokesperson said the company anticipated there would be customers frustrated by the trial.
"We've certainly considered that some people prefer to use cash, which is why we are running this on a trial basis and welcome feedback from customers, especially regarding how seamless and convenient they find this makes their Domino's experience," she said.
The company also said there would likely be consumers who oppose the exclusivity of electronic payments due to privacy concerns — a common gripe is the ease at which personal details can be obtained through the use of card and wire transactions.
"We understand there are some options that will address these concerns," the spokesperson said.
"Customers will ultimately choose the payment method that suits their preferences, including if privacy is a driving factor.
"Ultimately, feedback from all customers will be one of the key factors determining the trial's success."
Research commissioned by the Australian Taxation Office last year found only one in five Australians prefer using cash for purchases, with the electronic payment trend particularly evident among people under 35.
Those aged 18-24 were also half as likely to request a discount for paying in cash compared to the general population.
ATO assistant commissioner Matthew Bambrick said it was "clear that there's been a cultural shift towards cashless payments across the board, even for smaller amounts".
"It's usually around convenience and security," he said. "Businesses who are doing contactless payments, they also find it quite convenient as they don't have all the cash handling costs."
Bambrick said where "we once saw people walk into car dealerships with cash in hand, cash has now been relegated to the morning coffee", and that the "move by the younger generation away from seeking an 'under the table' discount is really encouraging".
"It indicates that a once common practice is now rare as people enjoy the benefits of being cash free," he said.
The "tap and take" trial will be at NSW stores in Newtown, Coffs Harbour and Wauchope, as well as Queensland stores Calamvale and Surfers Paradise South.