The number of $50 notes out there for each Australian may surprise you

  • RBA governor Philip Lowe says the shift towards electronic payments in Australia is happening “quite quickly”.
  • However, he said bank notes won’t vanish from existence any time soon.
  • And interestingly, the number of bank notes on issue is heavily skewed to the expensive end.

If you’ve ever wondered how many Australian bank notes per person are currently in circulation, the Reserve Bank has your answer:


Interestingly, the skew leans heavily towards the higher denominations ($50 and $100).

For every person in Australia, there are around 30 $50 notes on issue. So assuming a population of 25 million, that’s around 750 million pineapples in circulation.

The data was cited by RBA governor Philip Lowe, in a speech this morning on the shift towards electronic payments in Australia.

He called the shift a “positive investment” that’s taking place “quite quickly”.

However, “I want to emphasise that we don’t yet envisage a world without banknotes”, Lowe said.

In fact, given the increased weightings of bigger notes, “the value of banknotes on issue, relative to the size of the economy, is close to the highest it has been in fifty years”.

Why the preference for notes?

Lowe said the main reason is because people still like to store their wealth in bank notes.

Particularly in the current environment of low interest rates, which limits the interest income that can be earned on savings deposited at the bank.

The full version of Lowe’s speech can be accessed here.