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Sunday 21 October 2018


Card payments overtake cash in Australia

Written by Anthony Strzalek

Cards have overtaken cash for the very first time as the top payment method for Australian consumers, according to the latest report from the country’s central bank.

The Reserve Bank of Australia’s Consumer Payments Survey 2016 found that Australian consumers continued to switch from paper-based ways of making payments such as cash and cheques, towards digital payment methods, particularly debit and credit cards.

Cards were the most frequently used means of payment in the 2016 survey, overtaking cash for the first time, with contactless ‘tap and go’ cards displacing cash for many lower value transactions.

Despite these recent trends, cash still accounts for a significant share of customer payments in Australia, and is intensively used by some segments of the population. Payments using a mobile phone at a card terminal are a relatively new feature of the payments system and this technology was not widely used at the time of the survey, according to the report.

However, it also found that consumers are increasingly using their mobile phones to make online and person-to-person payments. Similarly, consumers are using automatic payments, such as direct debits, more frequently.

Danielle Szetho, CEO of FinTech Australia, said: “This outcome isn’t surprising, given the digitally savvy nature of Australian consumers and the fact that penetration of digital point of sale terminals and contactless card payments in Australia are among the highest in the world.

“Importantly, the high percentage of non-cash payments is an important ongoing platform for FinTech innovation, whether this comes from leveraging electronic payment data or creating new payment mechanisms or hardware.”

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