One in four Australians keen to ditch cash

Alison Banney 18 May 2017

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Except when it comes to smaller purchases, that is.

I feel a bit sorry for our notes and coins. They mean well, and are desperately trying to stay relevant, but we just aren’t giving them the respect we used to.

Referring to cash as useless and irrelevant has become a past time for Australians, ever since we were gifted with technologies like PayPass, tap and go and digital wallets such as Apple Pay and Samsung Pay.

As a result, more than half of Australians say they use cash much less now than they did 12 months ago, according to ING recent Cashless Society report.

Our appetite for these contactless payments, and in turn our disinterest for cash, is continuing to grow, with a quarter of Australians saying they would go completely cashless if given the choice.

Over half (57%) of Australians say they’d easily manage without cash for a week, and a quarter (27%) even go as far as saying they would be comfortable getting by without cash for the rest of time.

But when it comes to living in a cashless society, are we all talk and no action? ING’s report revealed that almost nine in ten (86%) of us still favour cash for smaller purchases under $15.

And while we may be quick to claim that we’d easily go cashless if given the opportunity, over half (53%) of us still carry up to $60 in cash in our wallet, proving that cash still has it’s place.

“We’re seeing our customers increasingly favour payment methods that don’t involve a traditional wallet, but rather a smartphone. Cash used to be king, and while there is still clear demand for notes and coins, its crown is slipping as technology makes payments increasingly easy, secure and convenient,” said ING’s executive director of customers John Arnott.

“Many of us get our news from our phones, we set up appointments, we book an Uber and order our dinner on the way home, and we do our banking and shopping on our phones. A year ago you would see very few people using their smartphone to pay at a café, but today it’s rapidly becoming commonplace.”

A recent report by market analyst East & Partners showed that the number of cash payments received by Australian merchants currently makes up less than 10% of all payments. If this trend continues, cash payments are predicted to fall below 2% by 2022, rendering Australia a virtually cashless society.

Read all about the benefits and challenges of saying goodbye to cash once and for all.

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