Westpac: Australia is leading the world in contactless payments

“Is tap okay?”

It’s a common question many Aussies hear as they buy their morning coffee or favourite lunch with their debit card.

According to Westpac research and recent statistics by Visa, Australia is leading the world in contactless payments, with 325.4 million contactless payments made in 2017 - up from 258.6 million in 2016.

And this 26% rise is only set to increase further in the coming years, as at the moment, contactless payments are the preferred payment method in over 90% of purchases.

RELATED: How Aussies can save over $1,000 in the new financial year with the right bank

The most popular contactless payment purchases

While many Aussies tap their cards wherever possible, takeaway was the most popular use of contactless payments, with 98% of all purchases made at fast food restaurants being contactless.

This was followed by food and groceries and discount stores, both sitting at 93% each. Surprisingly, only 59% of healthcare payments were contactless.

“Our customers seem to prefer contactless for purchases where and simplicity are idea,” said Roshni Naidoo, Head of Payment Strategy at Westpac.

“Higher purchase volumes associated with eating out and shopping support this - they’re situations where time-poor consumers prefer a way to pay that lets them to get back to what’s important.”

RELATED: RBA Banking Fees Report: Aussies are forking out $478 in bank fees each year

Cards are king

Only last year, Mozo reported on the steady farewell of cash from Aussie wallets as debit and credit card transactions had doubled since 2007, according to a RBA Consumer Payments Survey. 

According to the report, in 2007 Aussie’s only used their cards to make 10% of their purchases under $20. By 2016, this figure had jumped to 40%, despite credit cards being used to make contactless payments at “a lesser extent” than debit cards.

“It seems contactless payments are shaping up to be a major part of Australia’s spending future, especially as it becomes more and more acceptable to make small purchases under $20 by tapping your plastic,” said Mozo Director, Kirsty Lamont.

“This increased acceptance of small Tap ‘n’ Go purchases just might be the final nail in the coffin for cash.”

Need a new debit card to keep up with your spending needs? Our debit card comparison tool can help you find your next shopping companion.