SINGAPORE (Aug 6): In recent years, cash seems to have gained rather than lost its appeal. At end-May, currency in active circulation, meaning the amount of notes and coins not held in banks, stood at $44 billion, or roughly 38% of GDP. A decade ago, it was $19.5 billion, or roughly 30% of GDP.

Where does this leave efforts to make Singapore a cashless society? Both the government and the private sector have pushed consumers and businesses towards electronic transactions, advocating its ease and efficiency.

“Imagine the long queues to board buses if instead of tap and go, people are still digging into their pockets at the entrances,” said Ong Ye Kung, education minister and board member of the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS), at an Association of Banks of Singapore dinner recently. “For businesses too, e-payments... help increase efficiency, as you cut down the time and effort in counting cash, reconciling money in the cash register with items sold, carrying that money to the bank or encashing cheques.”

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