One in three Australians would be happy to go completely cashless by 2022, but we’re still not embracing the latest options for fast, secure shopping.
A quiet revolution has been taking place in the hip pockets of Australians. Notes and coins – once the go-to payment choice for shoppers, have gradually been replaced by debit and credit cards.
New research by ME confirms that only one in four (27%) of us still use cash frequently. The vast majority of people – 64%, reach for a card at the checkout.
As a sign of how much cash has fallen out of favour, ME found cash is most commonly used for very small purchases like a takeaway latte, making donations to charities or for handing over the kids’ weekly pocket money.
Our shifting preferences
Several reasons explain why cash could be heading towards the endangered list. The hassle of hunting around for an ATM to access cash is a seen as the key drawback for one in two of us, while almost one in four dislike having to carry a wallet around. The pandemic has played a role too. Close to one in five consumers say the folding stuff isn’t accepted by some businesses these days, with a similar proportion seeing cash as unhygienic.
ME’s Head of Home Loans and Personal Banking, Claudio Mazzarella, says the findings, along with branch closures and the removal of 6,500 ATMs since 2016, reflect our changing attitudes and preferences towards money.
Thirty-five percent happy to go cash-free
The upshot is that plenty of Australians have moved on from hard coin. In fact, more than one-third (35%) of us would have no issues with the nation going cashless by 2022.
What is surprising is that relatively few Australians – just 12% of us, are embracing the convenience and security of digital wallets.
If you’re not familiar with how they work, a digital wallet is an app that stores your credit card or debit card details on your smartphone. It lets you make contactless payments using your phone so it’s fast, secure and there’s no need to lug around a physical wallet.
As a guide to how convenient digital wallets are, ME’s Everyday Transaction Account now offers a range of digital wallet options including Apple Pay, Google Pay and SamsungPay. It takes just minutes to add a new debit card to your digital wallet, which sidesteps the wait for a card to arrive in the mail. Even better, your digital wallet can be used to shop instore or online.
The new go-to for shoppers
As we all look for safer, faster and more convenient ways to pay, digital wallets look set to become the preferred cash alternative. They’re already used by 2.6 billion people globally – a figure set to rise to 4.4 billion by 2025.
It makes digital wallets worth a look. But don’t ditch the old leather wallet just yet. Like the holey dollar and cowrie shells, it could go on to become a valuable museum piece.
Members Equity Bank Limited ABN 56 070 887 679 AFSL and Australian Credit Licence 229500.