Australia trailing in the race to go cashless

Photo: Flickr/ Lis Ferla.

Australians are using less and less cash for daily purchases, but we are still trailing other countries, a Mastercard report shows.

Going cashless could be very beneficial for the economy. A 2013 study found that bills and coins cost the US economy more than $US 200 billion a year. The Mastercard report puts the cost of cash at up to 1.5% of GDP.

Mastercard estimates that only 35% of Australian consumer transactions use “non-cash” methods. This includes non-retail payments, like paying rent or other household bills, which are normally conducted electronically in advanced countries.

This is despite the argument that new cash-less services like Apple Pay aren’t viable in Australia because contactless payments like Visa Paywave are already entrenched.

What’s more, Australia is trailing countries that it has dominated in the uptake of financial technology. Such as the United States, which only this month completed the transition to chip and pin technology.


All is not lost though. Mastercard thinks that with the widespread adoption of bank accounts, the ease of doing business and the uptake of contactless terminals by merchants, we’re as ready as most to go cashless.