Digital payments on rise in Australia, says APCA

Australians are increasingly embracing digital payments channels and gradually abandoning cash.

Digital payments on rise in Australia, says APCA

Australians are increasingly embracing digital payments channels and gradually abandoning cash, a new research from the Australian Payments Clearing Association (APCA) reveals.

Titled “The Milestones Report,” the study however points out that contrary to cheques, cash will not disappear as a payment method in the digital economy, and will continue to serve as a default method if nothing else is available.

The report on Australia’s progress on transitioning payments to the digital economy has a special mention on cash.

The Milestones Report, drawn from Apca-commissioned research developed by RFi Consulting, shows that Australians are using less cash as the uptake of contactless and other electronic payments continues to gain.

According to the study, the number of cash payments has declined by 5% since 2005 – down to an estimated 11.7 billion in 2013 – reflecting the changing way in how consumers pay.

This decline is predicted to gather speed, dropping a further 20% over the next few years before it plateaus in 2018.

There were 57.3 million cash withdrawals from ATMs in February 2014, down from 60.0 million in February 2013, while the value of these withdrawals decreased 9% to $10.8bn.

The Australian Payments Clearing Association CEO Chris Hamilton said: “We will always have a need for cash, but the take-out here is that cash won’t be the first or only choice for making any payment, regardless of what it’s for.”

The RFi study also underlines that the share of cash within all of the payment transactions made in Australia has declined from 73%in 2005 to 59% in 2013, with a further share decline forecast to 43% in 2018