Australians Going Increasingly Cashless, But Favoring Credit Cards

July 27, 2017         By: Steven Anderson

While the notion of a cashless society is still somewhat dodgy in many places, there are elements of it that are moving in that direction. The Australian people are increasingly moving to cashless capability, but are focusing on one payment vehicle in particular: credit and debit cards.

Based on word from the Reserve Bank of Australia, credit and debit card payments are on the rise more rapidly than any other form of cashless payment structure. In fact, it’s reached a point where 52 percent of all transactions are made using one of the two breeds of card. Cash, meanwhile, only accounts for just over a third—37 percent—of all transactions.

One of the biggest issues seems to be a generational gap. Over half—51 percent—of people over 65 turned mainly to cash, while almost half—46 percent—of those between 18 and 29 turn to debit cards instead. With the younger set clearly weighing on the average, it’s easy to see why the overall shift took place. Mobile payments, meanwhile, remain present but lagging; only around 10 percent of those surveyed were interested in using mobile payment systems.

This isn’t exactly the death knell for mobile payments in Australia; granted, they’re lagging credit and debit cards rather badly, but given that mobile payment systems often depend on a credit or debit card for a base, this isn’t so much a loss as an opportunity.

Mobile payments providers interested in making inroads in Australia, therefore, need to consider the market. Is infrastructure a problem? Likely not that big of one. If that proves out, then a simple education outreach might be all that’s needed here. Additionally, anything that can point out the value of a mobile payment system over a conventional card system would likely go well. Point out the impact of loyalty programs, of the ability to receive special offers while in mid-shop, and similar facets.

The good news of this study, such as it is, is that the groundwork is already laid. Now, all that remains is to pull users out of the just-card camp and into the card-backed systems camp. That could be easier than some might suspect with a bit of focus on the benefits.