RDP 2020-06: Consumer Payment Behaviour in Australia: Evidence from the 2019 Consumer Payments Survey 9. Conclusion

The Bank's 2019 Consumer Payments Survey provided further evidence that Australian consumers are increasingly using electronic payment methods instead of cash for many of their transactions. The use of debit cards has been growing strongly in recent surveys, particularly for lower-value ‘tap and go’ payments. The share of payments made using mobile devices with contactless payment functionality has also risen sharply relative to previous surveys as awareness and card-issuer support for mobile payments has increased. While use of mobile devices for payments at the point of sale is still relatively low, mobile devices are now a relatively common way of making online and person-to-person payments through apps. Consumers also have available an increasing range of newer payment methods and the CPS showed that many consumers were aware of these, even if some of them were not necessarily widely used.

The changes in spending patterns induced by the emergence of COVID-19 in Australia – including a further shift away from cash and increased online shopping – are likely to reinforce the trend to electronic payments. As this transition occurs, it will be important to make sure that electronic payment systems are low cost, accessible and safe. As the transactional use of cash declines, it will also be important to consider the needs of those members of society who continue to rely heavily on cash for their day-to-day payments.