Hoping to cripple organized crime and tamp down on tax evasion and money laundering, Australia has announced its latest tactic: not allowing cash purchases over $7,500 for goods and services. The West Australian reports the new rule—which will require consumers to use a check or electronic service such as a debit or credit card if a purchase goes over that amount—will take effect in July 2019. Exempt from the mandate will be transactions with financial institutions and those taking place between consumers for non-business-related purposes. The Guardian notes that the measure is part of the government's attempts to tackle the country's so-called "black economy." "This will be bad news for criminal gangs, terrorists, and those who are just trying to cheat on their tax," said Treasurer Scott Morrison, per Gizmodo.
It may also be bad news for Australian small-business owners who rely on larger cash transactions. "It's going to screw me—95% of my business is cash collections," Paul Thomas tells News.com.au. Thomas, who runs a security company specializing in armored cars and cash in transit, says the new rule is unnecessary, as there's a government watchdog already in place to go after money launderers. Others aren't as concerned, telling the Australian Financial Review the $7,500 limit actually won't be that hard to circumvent: Some say one could simply make a series of smaller payments rather than one big one, while others note the feds won't be able to keep track of such things anyway unless they put a high-tech monitoring system in place. (Read more Australia stories.)