Media Release

Not on the cards: 1 in 5 Australians pay with their phone or watch regularly

        • 30% of Aussies are connected to digital wallets, 19% use them often
        • ATM withdrawals dropped more than $4 million per month since July 2018
        • Tips for keeping your devices secure

22 October 2020, Sydney, Australia – Cash is dying and cards are next, according to Finder, Australia's most visited comparison site.

New research by Finder has revealed that almost 1 in 5 (19%) now pay with their phone or smartwatch at the checkout – equivalent to 3.7 million Australians.

The survey of 1,069 respondents shows that 30% have their debit or credit card connected to their smartphone or watch, while 10% plan to in the near future.

A smaller proportion of respondents (5%) said that they haven't connected their phones or watches because they are not with a bank that offers a digital wallet.

Currently, tech-native generation Z are the biggest adopters of "smart" payments with 39% using the technology, compared to just 6% of baby boomers.

Kate Browne, personal finance expert at Finder, said contactless payments using a device were fast becoming a favoured method of payment at the checkout.

"There has been a rapid uptake of smart devices for day-to-day payments," she said.

"For younger users like gen Z, not only are they cashless, they are the first generation to go wallet-less.

"As we deal with the challenges of COVID-19, tap-and-pay features of smartphones can also help people protect their personal health."

This research comes as cash payments continue to dwindle.

Finder analysis of RBA data on ATM withdrawals shows the total amount withdrawn has dropped more than $4 million per month since July 2018, while the number of withdrawals halved from 50 million in July 2018 to less than 25 million in May 2020.

In 2019, debit cards already were used for nearly 45% of consumer payments (by number) and credit cards accounted for 19% of consumer payments, according to the Reserve Bank's 2019 Consumer Payments Survey.

Browne said that, for many, contactless payments on a device are safer, easier and faster than carrying around physical cards or cash.

"Millions have embraced their 'digital wallet' and can adequately manage their day-to-day finances without the need for a physical billfold.

"Because all your card information is securely stored within an app, once connected, it's very similar to using your physical debit card to tap and go."

If you'd like more information on digital wallets, check out Finder's digital wallet comparison guide.

Do you have your debit or credit card connected to your phone or smartwatch?
No, and I don’t plan to55%
Yes, and I use it often19%
Yes, but I don't use it11%
No, but I plan to10%
No, my bank doesn't have a digital wallet option5%

Source: Finder, September 2020 survey

Tips for keeping your devices secure:

  • Use a secure passcode. Setting a passcode on your smartphone or watch adds an extra layer of security to your device. With so much of our lives stored digitally now, the precaution of a passcode is a must when it comes to keeping your information secure. Steer clear of easily uncovered codes such as birthdays, postcodes, patterns or common sequences.
  • Be wary about who has access to your device. Many devices will now allow you to set up facial or fingerprint recognition for more than one person. Although this can be convenient, it's important to be selective about who can access the information on your smartphone or watch.
  • Avoid connecting to public Wi-Fi where possible. Free public Wi-Fi can seem like a blessing, but it can also pose a security risk to connected devices. The openness of these networks makes it easier for hackers to access and steal data without the user even knowing. Use your own data where possible and if you do connect to a free network avoid any sensitive transactions such as banking.


For further information


The information in this release is accurate as of the date published, but rates, fees and other product features may have changed. Please see updated product information on's review pages for the current correct values.

About Finder

Every month 2.6 million unique visitors turn to Finder to save money and time, and to make important life choices. We compare virtually everything from credit cards, phone plans, health insurance, travel deals and much more.

Our free service is 100% independently-owned by three Australians: Fred Schebesta, Frank Restuccia and Jeremy Cabral. Since launching in 2006, Finder has helped Aussies find what they need from 1,800+ brands across 100+ categories.

We continue to expand and launch around the globe, and now have offices in Australia, the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada, Poland and the Philippines. For further information visit

12.6 million average unique monthly audience (June- September 2019), Nielsen Digital Panel

Go to site