Dealing With Customer Difficulties

Many retailers have implemented store policies against cash transactions to minimise the risk of transferring the COVID-19 virus from one person to another.

Researches argue that objects, including polymer banknotes, can remain infectious from anywhere between 6 and 24 hours, depending on the temperature and humidity. If a person is infected, cash transactions involves passing a potentially contaminated object from one person to another, with a secondary transfer to the next customer. In general, cashless payments are much safer for your customers and your team.

Despite these policies being put into place to ensure staff and community safety, many retailers have reported customers are becoming frustrated and aggressive towards their staff.

There is a widespread belief that businesses cannot refuse legal tender, including coins or bank notes. However, there is no law against a business refusing to accept cash for goods and services. Businesses are within their rights to set the commercial terms upon which payment will take place before the ‘contract’ for supply of goods or services is entered into.

If your business is experiencing issues with transitioning to cashless transactions, there are some strategies to manage customer frustration:

  1. If you are located within a shopping centre, direct customers to the information desk to purchase a centre gift card with their cash.
  2. Ensure adequate signage is displayed at the entry, point of sale and throughout the store advising customers that “due to health advice, cash will not be accepted” or “non-cash payments are preferred.”
  3. Educate staff in the legalities regarding cash transactions (i.e. that retailers are legally allowed to refuse cash) and the risk of infection involved.
  4. Train staff on a range of actions to take to de-escalate incidents of customer aggression including verbal and non-verbal communication, listening and when to seek support. Ensure you also care for staff wellbeing after the incident and during the recovery.


Read more about handing aggressive behaviour here.

If you require any further advice, resources or support regarding cashless transactions and handling aggressive behaviour, please contact the Policy Team at



About the SafeCity Network

The National Retail Association’s SafeCity Network brings together retailers, government and law enforcement to better inform and equip retailers to reduce retail crime.

On 1 March 2018, the NRA launched the SafeCity Network as a trial in Brisbane aimed at increasing collaboration and insight between retailers to reduce retail crime. By reducing crime over the long term, the program aims to attract more shoppers and visitors, and ultimately create a more vibrant, safer retail precincts.

Participants in the SafeCity Network gain access to regular crime alerts and bulletins based on real-world intelligence shared by other retailers.