RDP 2017-04: How Australians Pay: Evidence from the 2016 Consumer Payments Survey 1. Introduction

The Reserve Bank conducted its fourth Consumer Payments Survey (CPS) in November 2016.[1] The survey, which the Bank has undertaken every three years since 2007, provides a nationally representative dataset on how Australian consumers make their payments and how this has changed over time.[2] The CPS is the main source of information on the use of cash – for transactions and other purposes – in the Australian economy. As in previous surveys, participants in 2016 recorded details about every transaction they made for a week. They also provided demographic information and completed an additional questionnaire on their payment preferences and attitudes.

This paper discusses the findings of the 2016 CPS in the context of changes in consumers' payment preferences over the past decade or so.[3] It considers the influence of newer technologies – including contactless cards and mobile payments – on the payments mix; and also examines the payment preferences of different demographic groups.[4]


Fieldwork for the 2016 CPS was undertaken by the research firm Ipsos. [1]

See Emery, West and Massey (2008), Bagnall, Chong and Smith (2011), and Ossolinski, Lam and Emery (2014) for the results of previous surveys. [2]

See Doyle et al (2017) for a summary of the key findings of the 2016 CPS. [3]

Additional data are available on the Bank's website (https://www.rba.gov.au/publications/rdp/2017/2017-04/additional-files/supplementary-statistics-from-the-consumer-payments-survey-2016.xlsx). [4]