RDP 2014-05: The Changing Way We Pay: Trends in Consumer Payments 2. Details of the Survey

The 2013 Survey of Consumers' Use of Payment Methods was conducted by Colmar Brunton on behalf of the Bank during November 2013. The survey consisted of three parts: a pre-diary questionnaire capturing demographic characteristics; a seven-day diary; and an end-of-survey questionnaire asking about payment preferences and attitudes. For the first time, the survey was answered by most participants online (using a computer, tablet or smartphone). Although internet penetration in Australia is high, it is not universal. Thus, a group of respondents without access to the internet was recruited to complete the survey on paper to reduce any potential for bias arising from a purely online delivery.

The response rate to the survey was good, producing a final sample of 1,167 respondents (1,069 online and 98 who completed the paper-based survey) and around 15,500 payments worth over $1.1 million. To ensure the results were representative, recruitment targets for age, household income, credit card ownership and regional groupings were set in line with Australian population statistics. To account for any deviation from these targets in the final sample, an individual weighting factor was applied at the respondent level to the final sample. The survey was conducted when seasonal factors were expected to be neutral.

In the diary, individuals were asked to record every payment (except automatic direct debits) made within the seven-day period.[2] Business payments (e.g. as part of an individual's employment) were not included, although transfers (i.e. where the payment did not support an underlying purchase) were included for the first time. For every payment and transfer, respondents reported the day and date, the payment amount, the payment method used and the merchant category. They were also required to select the payment channel from five options: in person, internet (desktop, laptop or tablet), smartphone, phone (voice call) or mail. For the purpose of this study, in-person payments are treated as point-of-sale payments, while payments by any other channel are considered remote payments.[3]

For card payments, respondents recorded the type of card used: debit, which includes payments through the eftpos network[4] and through the MasterCard and Visa debit networks; MasterCard or Visa credit card; or American Express or Diners Club cards. Respondents also recorded the value of any surcharge paid (either as a percentage or a dollar amount) and, for point-of-sale payments, whether the payment used contactless payment technology.

Participants were also asked to record cash ‘top-ups’, that is, additions to the cash they hold on their person, for instance in a wallet or purse. Top-ups include withdrawals from the banking system as well as transfers from others or from cash stored at home. The participant recorded the amount, the source of the cash (ATM, cash-out at the point of sale, over the counter at a branch, or other) and the level of cash they held after the top-up.


Transaction-level information about direct debits was collected in the end-of-survey questionnaire to allow respondents to refer to financial statements. [2]

Although smartphones could be used to make point-of-sale payments at the time of the survey, the desire to ensure that the diary was easy to use and consistent across waves meant that remote and point-of-sale payments using a smartphone were not distinguished; all smartphone payments are treated as remote in this study. The small number of smartphone payments recorded in the survey suggests that this was a negligible source of error in 2013. [3]

eftpos is the domestic debit network in Australia managed by eftpos Payments Australia Limited (ePAL) and owned by 12 financial institutions and 2 retailers. [4]