Cash is no longer king as ‘digital banking boom’ sweeps the nation

Jun 27, 2024
Digital wallets have taken the throne, surpassing ATM cash withdrawals for the first time. Source: Getty Images.

A shift in the way Australians pay for goods and services has occurred with research from the Australian Banking Association (ABA) finding that cash is no longer king as an unprecedented number of people now use digital wallets over traditional cash payments.

The 2024 Bank On It report revealed some startling insights, finding that digital wallet use has increased 18-fold over the past five years and has overtaken ATM cash withdrawals for the first time.

A staggering $126 billion in payments were made with digital wallets in the past year, compared to $105 billion in ATM withdrawals.

ABA chief executive Anna Bligh said Australia is “in the midst of a digital banking boom” as the public go digital “in all aspects of their lives”.

The decline in cash use was not confined to one age group or geographic location. The report found that among the 65- year-old age group cash usage has dropped 69 per cent since 2007. Regional and remote residents have also seen a shift toward digital payments with 80 per cent taking up the payment method.

While digital payments have surged in popularity, Bligh sought to alleviate the concerns of those worried that cash will become obsolete, ensuring that Australia will not be doing away with cash “anytime soon”.

“This report shows that Australians are using less and less cash, but we’re not about to become cashless anytime soon,” she said.

For those who want to jump on the digital bandwagon and reduce their reliance on cash payments, there are a number of small changes you can make to ensure the transition is seamless. 

  • Start with familiar transactions: Begin by using cashless payment methods for familiar transactions, such as grocery shopping or paying bills. This approach allows you to gain confidence with everyday purchases before venturing into more complex transactions.
  • Educate yourself: Take advantage of online tutorials, guides, and workshops that explain the ins and outs of digital payment platforms. Familiarise yourself with the features, security measures, and terms of service to make informed decisions.
  • Seek support from tech-savvy friends or family: If you encounter any difficulties during the transition, reach out to tech-savvy friends or family members for guidance and support. They can offer valuable insights and help troubleshoot any issues.
  • Practice patience and perseverance: Transitioning to a cashless society may take time, so be patient with yourself as you adapt to new methods. Embrace the learning process and remember that practice makes perfect.

-with AAP.

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