Drawing on research as well as his experience helping design payment systems for Australian banks, Lalchandani lays out a clear and coherent history in chapters that are tightly organized despite the sprawling subject matter. He asks, early on, if people today are “slaves” to the payment systems that have evolved with us, but Payments and Banking in Australia is an engaging reference work, rather than a polemic. As the subtitle promises, Lalchandani’s book lays bare how present systems of payment came to be and how they actually work.
To that end, his emphasis is on the systems and processes, both private and government-run, that determine the practicalities of Australian financial lives. Among many other topics, he explains the numbers on banking accounts, the history of banking regulation, and the rise and decline of the ATM. Many parts are fascinating, such as a rundown of Australia’s efforts to limit credit card fees. Throughout, Lalchandani makes helpful moves—exemplified by the detailed table of contents and section headings—to break down this huge subject into discrete, clearly organized chunks. This book will both inform and engage readers.
Takeaway: This rich and thorough history examines how Australians have paid for goods and services over centuries.
Great for fans of: Bill Maurer’s How Would You Like to Pay?: How Technology Is Changing the Future of Money, Jacob Goldstein’s Money: The True Story of a Made-Up Thing.
Design and typography: A
Marketing copy: A