Study Finds Australians Turning to Online Payments

Leila Fourie, CEO of AusPayNet
Leila Fourie, CEO of AusPayNet

The Australian Payments Network (AusPayNet) has released its most recent Digital Economy report which found that Australia’s shift to a digital economy is accelerating. Digital payments are rapidly increasing while cash and cheques decline.

The study conducted by the payments industry self-regulatory body says that over 8.3 billion card payments were made in Australia in 2017, with almost 70 percent being made with a debit card. Debit card payments grew 15.3% to 5.6 billion in 2017, up 87% since 2012.
The use of cheques is in a downward spiral as cheques written declined by 19.7% to 89.7 million. ATM withdrawals are too losing its place as Australians are gradually avoiding paying in cash. Withdrawals dropped by 5.9% to 610.1 million in 2017.
Leila Fourie, Chief Executive Officer of AusPayNet, commented:
“The continued shift to digital payments is not surprising given how connected and mobile our society is. Almost 9 in every 10 Australians own a smartphone, and more than 3 in every 5 use them to make payments. This is driving uptake in digital payments and laying down a powerful base for the next wave of payments innovation.”
Mobile apps, who provide a more seamless payment experience, are key drivers of this change in behavior. Additionally, the report says that the New Payments Platform (NPP) is also playing a role as it allows customers to make easier and faster payments using a mobile phone number or an email address rather than BSB and account number.
E-commerce in Australia has grown once again, with online purchasers growing from 61% of the population to 72% in 2016-17. The value of online spending has also increased significantly, up by 15.1% in 2016-17. Australia’s migration to digital payments is enabled by a high penetration of point-of-sale terminals and a low number of ATMs relative to many overseas countries, according to the report.
The Australian Payments Network suggests a number of government initiatives to support the transition to the digital economy. These include open-loop transit (metro transport cards that are account-based and compatible across networks in different cities), open banking and the consumer data rights.
Roubini Thoughtlab, led by renowned economist Nouriel Roubini, has recently conducted a study which found that cashlessness boosts GDP. The report said that relying more on electronic payments, such as cards and mobile payments, could yield a net benefit of up to $470 billion per year across 100 cities around the world, roughly the equivalent to 3% of the average GDP for these cities.