CANBERRA, AAP – Credit card spending reached record levels in November, but Reserve Bank figures show using cash is also on the rise, dispelling the myth that Australia is moving towards a cashless society.

The RBA’s monthly payments data showed purchases on credit and charge cards totalled $28.9 billion in November, 6.8 per cent higher than in October and 9.6 per cent higher than a year earlier.

“Personal credit card spending reached record levels in November as Australians emerged from lockdown and relished in their new-found freedom to visit shops, pubs and restaurants with limited restrictions,” Canstar’s group executive for financial services Steve Mickenbecker said.

“Pre-Christmas sales events such as Black Friday were also a likely contributor to the boost in credit card spending.”

Data released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics on Tuesday showed retail spending rose by 7.3 per cent, the fourth largest monthly increase on record.


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The RBA report also showed there were 29.8 million cash withdrawals from ATMs in November totalling $8.6 billion.

This was 2.6 per cent higher than the previous month and came after a 12.7 per cent increase in October. campaign spokesman Jason Bryce says this shows cash usage is recovering in Australia, having been in decline during COVID-19 pandemic lockdowns.

“There is no trend towards a cashless society and despite the growing number of ways to make cashless transactions, the use of cash is actually increasing,” Mr Bryce said.

“Cash is back in style. Retailers are choosing to accept cash again and Australians are voting with their wallets and returning to using cash.”