Research Discussion Paper – RDP 2014-05 The Changing Way We Pay: Trends in Consumer Payments


The Reserve Bank of Australia's third Survey of Consumers' Use of Payment Methods was conducted in November 2013. The survey used a diary and end-of-survey questionnaire to collect data on the use of cash, cards and a range of other payment methods, both at the point of sale and via remote channels (online, mail and telephone).

The 2013 data show that cash and cheque use has continued to fall. The use of cards has risen significantly, and there has also been an increase in the use of PayPal. The growth in the use of cards and the reduction in cash use are evident across households in all age and household income groups. The strong growth in remote payments is one contributor to the observed change in the use of cash and cards. However, the main contribution is from the increased use of cards at the point of sale, which is likely to reflect both growth in the availability of card terminals at merchants and changing consumer preferences as authentication methods have evolved. In particular, we find some indication that the adoption of contactless technology, which lowers the tender time of card payments at the point of sale, may have increased card use.

The paper presents detailed information about the use of contactless card and smartphone payments by demographic group and payment type. It also provides an update on the payment of surcharges on card payments, including information about the value of card surcharges that were paid by consumers, and the payment of ATM fees.

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