Australia tipped to be first to go cashless

Kelly Emmerton

Wednesday 20 January 2016

More than half of all Aussies think that the land down under will be the first to embrace digital-only payments and go cashless, recent research commissioned by MasterCard has shown.

Australia tipped to be first to go cashless

Although retailers in Denmark could begin phasing out cash this year, Aussies still believe we’ll beat them to the punch. The research, which surveyed just over 1,000 Australians of all ages found that Australians are preparing themselves for the change to a cashless economy, as 58% of Aussies predict more and more cash will be removed from use over the next five years.

Already, markers of the change are being revealed, with 64% of Aussies reducing the amount of cash they carry on them, while 53% now carry less than $50 in cash at any one time. The findings were supported by RBA figures that showed ATM withdrawals were on the decline.

Speed and convenience drive the willingness for change, with around 40% of Australians wanting to see coins phased out before notes because of the annoyance and hassle of carrying small change.

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Safety concerns also figure into the equation, as Andrew Cartwright, SVP and Country Manager at MasterCard said. “Australians have long considered credit and debit cards a fast and convenient way to pay, but what we are starting to see is a real understanding of, and appreciation for, the safety benefits of cards over cash.”

36% of Aussies believe a cashless society would be a safer one. Cartwright said this is likely due to the fact that, “Australians know that in the instance their wallet is stolen or lost, any cash is as good as gone.  However, knowing they’re protected against any unauthorised purchases on their cards provides the peace of mind they need in an already unfortunate scenario.”

The shift toward digital-only payments might leave some cash-only businesses in a tight spot. A considerable 89% of Aussies have negative perceptions of cash-only businesses and one in three (39%) believe cash-only retailers should be embracing the shift toward eliminating cash.

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