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Yahoo bans the sale of cash on its auction website

A screenshot of the Yahoo! Auction website, which includes cases of cash going on sale for greater than face value. These posts have since been deleted. (This image has been modified slightly.) (From the Yahoo! Auction site)

Internet giant Yahoo Japan Corp. has banned the sale of cash on its "Yahoo! Auction" website, in response to social media concerns over the selling of money at prices exceeding face value, it has been learned.

    Speaking on the decision, a public relations representative from Yahoo stated, "Last weekend, there was a significant outcry on social media concerning the sale of cash (on the Yahoo! Auction site). As a result, we have started a policy of deleting posts that involve the sale of cash, upon discovery." Further information about the new deletion policy, which started on April 24, can be found under a notifications column on the Yahoo website.

    The move by Yahoo follows a similar decision by the mobile e-commerce site Mercari Inc. which banned the selling of banknotes and coins on its website on April 22. Mercari took this decision after users informed them about repeated cases of cash being put on sale for prices exceeding face value.

    Talking to the Mainichi Shimbun about the new policy, a PR spokesperson from Mercari explained, "There are concerns that this kind of activity could lead to money laundering, in the broad sense of the term. As a result, we are monitoring posts around the clock, and deleting any posts that relate to the sale of cash."

    In the case of Mercari, there were some recent incidents in which cash worth 20,000 yen had been put on sale for 27,000 yen (including delivery fee), and cash worth 10,000 yen had gone on sale for 13,500 yen (payment on delivery).

    According to the PR team at Mercari, the social media site Twitter responded heavily to these discoveries with tweets such as, "Cash is being sold on Mercari," and, "Maybe users are trying to get their hands on instant cash by paying with credit cards." Recently, it is thought that the number of copycat sellers has rapidly increased, but the company is keeping the asking price of the cash "undisclosed."

    However, despite recent fears of money laundering, it can be argued that Mercari's original intentions behind the decision in February to allow the sale of cash online were relatively pure. The company went ahead with this move in response to demands from users who were interested in the buying and selling of money with high rarity value, such as 2,000 yen banknotes and 5 yen coins with holes slightly out of position.

    In Yahoo's case, posts in which cash worth 300,000 yen was on sale for 335,000 yen and cash worth 200,000 yen was on sale for 228,000 yen had been seen on its auction site. The Yahoo PR team has pointed out, "While we will delete any posts that are inappropriate, we will not delete every single cash-related post. We will keep those that relate to collector's items."

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