6min read
PREVIOUS ARTICLE South32 NSW coal mine output t... NEXT ARTICLE RBA holds rates amid spending ...

Demand for cash in many countries is rising despite the increasing use of digital payments technologies, a senior Reserve Bank of Australia official says.

While alternate payment methods such as mobile and digital wallets are gain popularity, any transition to a cashless society is far from certain and likely to be a slow one, RBA assistant governor Lindsay Boulton said on Tuesday.

“Whatever the endpoint – less cash or cashless – the journey is likely to be a steady walk rather than a quick sprint,” Mr Boulton told the High Security Printing Asia conference in Melbourne.

Cash transactions, despite losing some ground to the convenience of non-cash payment methods, still offer anonymity, instantaneousness and a tangible element that gives confidence, Mr Boulton said.

Cash remains the payment method of choice, particularly in regions such as the Asia-Pacific.

Mr Boulton said the amount of cash circulating in China has grown around five per cent annually over a four year period – a time when Chinese consumers have undertaken a dramatic uptake of electronic forms of payment.

Mr Boulton said cash was now being hoarded as a precautionary back up or as a safety net in countries around the world.

“There is, in fact, only one country in the world – Sweden – where the transaction demand for cash is in retreat,” he said.

The future of money may actually be a hybrid of cash and technology, Mr Boulton said, with central banks requiring notes to have security features that can be easily seen or scanned with a smartphone for verification.


* The amount of circulated currency among all International Monetary Fund (IMF) countries is growing at nine per cent a year.

* China uses 30,000 tonnes of banknote polymer – the plastic base used to make notes – each year – accounting for 30 per cent of total global consumption.

* China, India and Indonesia have a combined demand for banknote polymer of 55,000 tonnes a year – 55 per cent of global consumption

*The Australian $5 banknote has an estimated lifespan of around 31/2 years

* The Australian $50 banknote – the largest circulation note by volume -has an estimated average lifespan of around 10 years.

Source: RBA assistant governor Lindsay Boulton’s speech: “Security Printing: A Central Banker’s Perspective”