RDP 2017-04: How Australians Pay: Evidence from the 2016 Consumer Payments Survey 8. Conclusion

The Bank's 2016 Consumer Payments Survey showed a continuation of trends evident in previous surveys in the way that Australians make their payments. Many people are paying in cash less often, preferring to instead use their debit and credit cards, including for low-value payments. Cheques are seldom used for most types of consumer transactions. The longer-term shift towards electronic payment methods is associated with a greater share of payments being made online than in the past, and the 2016 survey showed that contactless cards are becoming an ever more popular way of making in-person payments. While this does not yet appear to have translated into widespread use of mobile tap-and-go technology, people are using their mobile phones more often to make online and person-to-person payments. It would not be surprising if these general trends were to continue as more consumers adopt electronic payment methods and new ways of paying, such as the NPP, emerge.

While a shift towards electronic means of payment is evident across broad demographic groups, the transition away from paper-based payment methods has been more pronounced for some groups of consumers than it has for others. Perhaps unsurprisingly, younger generations have adopted electronic payment methods to a greater extent than older consumers. More generally, some people continue to rely heavily on cash (and to a lesser extent cheques) for their transactions and it will be important to consider the needs of these members of the community in the transition towards digital payments.