After yesterday’s news that the government is launching a ‘black economy’ taskforce which will strongly consider eliminating the elusive $100 note as a means of cracking down on untaxed or criminal cash transactions, a Reserve Bank of Australia report claims that the $50 note is actually used in far, far more crimes.
Though the hundred is often considered the perfect banknote for people trying to conceal large volumes of illegitimate cash – and for high-rolling cocaine users, obviously – the RBA reckons that the humble pineapple is in fact the note of choice for crims.
That’s because the fifty is actually widely used in normal transactions, whereas a hundred is just odd enough to raise eyebrows unless you’re at the casino. The paper makes that clear:
Liaison with AUSTRAC (Australian Transaction Reports and Analysis Centre) and the Australian Crime Commission suggests that it is the $50 denomination – rather than the $100 – that tends to be preferred by criminal elements because of its ubiquitous use in legitimate transactions. This suggests that to the extent that the $100 banknote is being used for nefarious purposes, any phase-out may not be particularly disruptive to those engaged in such activities.
Though the prospect of ditching higher-value banknotes as we move towards an electronic and cashless economy is appealing to many, the RBA reckons the current mix of notes in the economy is working well.
My take? You can get rid of our hundreds… but you’ll pry my beloved pineapple from my cold, dead hands.
Source: Sydney Morning Herald.