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Cards overtake cash for consumer payments in Australia

27 July 2017  |  13685 views  |  2 Sydney

Cards have overtaken cash as the primary method for consumer payments in Australia, according to data released by the country's central bank.

The Reserve Bank's triennial Consumer Payments Survey (CPS) recorded information on around 17,000 day-to-day payments made by over 1500 participants during a week. Cards were the most frequently used means of payment in the 2016 survey, overtaking cash for the first time, driven by the growing popularity of contactless tap-and-go transactions.

In 2013, cash was used in 47% of payments, compared to 43% for cards. Three years on, this outcome has now flipped so that 52% of payments are now via card, compared to just 37% by cash.

Commenting on the results, Fintech Australia CEO Danielle Szetho, says: “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."

Despite these trends, cash still accounts for a material share of consumer payments and is "intensively used" by some segments of the population, says the RBA.

Fintech Australia is putting its faith in the incoming New Payments Platform to further drive out cash and lay the foundations for future innovation.

"We encourage the Reserve Bank of Australia to ensure that there are clear, transparent and affordable access protocols for fintechs to NPP infrastructure - unfortunately we haven’t seen these as yet," says Szetho. “We also encourage the Australian Government to expedite its reforms to allow further customer access to their data, so that we can grow the number of innovative new fintech products and services, and provide consumers with more choice in how they pay for things.”

Comments: (2)

Ketharaman Swaminathan
Ketharaman Swaminathan - GTM360 Marketing Solutions - Pune | 28 July, 2017, 17:33

So mobile wallets haven't killed cards - even in Australia!

On a side note, why the heck is this based on a survey / sample? Doesn't the central bank have access to the universe of retail payments? In India, the central bank periodically releases the actual payment volumes by method of payments.

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Andy Agnew
Andy Agnew - Smart Traffic City - Edinburgh | 01 August, 2017, 07:16

Good point.  It also says that the survey took place in 2006 i.e. card payments overtook cash some time between 2003 anxd 2006.  Australia certainly needs the reforms announced in May to take effect soon.  Otherwise when card payments become virtual payments they will simply by-pass the banking system.

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