Australian consumers are accelerating their shift towards digital payments and away from cash and cheques, with new figures showing paying by card has surged while people make fewer trips to the ATM for cash.
Consumers made more than 8.3 billion card payments in 2017 – equal to a rate of almost 23 million transactions a day, according to a report from electronic payments industry group AusPayNet.
The bulk of those card payments – 5.6 billion – were made on debit cards, AusPayNet said, with credits tending to be used on more expensive purchases but still showing an increase in volume and value.
At the same time the number of cheques used fell almost 20 per cent to 89.7 million for the year, and the number of ATM withdrawals made fell 5.9 per cent to 610.1 million.
AusPayNet CEO Leila Fourie said the high uptake of technology and internet use in Australia, where almost 90 per cent of the population own a smartphone, was behind the increase in new ways of conducting transactions.
“This is driving uptake in digital payments and laying down a powerful base for the next wave of payments innovation,” she said.
AusPayNet said more 60 per cent of consumers with a smartphone used their device to make payments.
Among the technological shifts aiding the uptake of digital payments is the New Payments Platform launched in February – a digital and near-real-time payments system allowing instant peer-to-peer payments.
AusPayNet also found Australia has a relatively high number of EFTPOS terminals and low number of ATMs compared to other countries.
Australia has 39,337 EFTPOS terminals per million inhabitants and 1,355 ATMs, while Canada has 38,892 EFTPOS terminals and 1,888 ATMS, the report said.
Australia ranked above Canada, Italy, Singapore and the UK on EFTPOS point concentration, while it lagged Korea, Canada, Belgium and Russia on the ATM count.