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Is Australia ready to go cashless? New survey reveals Aussies embracing mobile wallets

By Shannon Williams
Mon 3 Aug 2020
FYI, this story is more than a year old

More than half of Australians are comfortable with the idea of a completely cashless society, according to new research. 

New research published by software comparison platform Capterra investigated how COVID-19 increased Australia's readiness towards becoming a cashless society, and found 55% are comfortable with the idea of going cashless.

After Australia relaxed social distancing guidelines in May, businesses had to ensure they had the correct resources in place to handle contactless payments. In a survey of 1,020 respondents, Capterra Australia highlighted how COVID-19 meant more Australian consumers were embracing the idea of a cashless future.

The survey found 58% of Australians have a mobile wallet installed on their devices, with 97% of respondents planning to use mobile wallets post COVID-19.

Health reasons are the biggest driver for using mobile wallets, with 33% of respondents preferring to avoid handling money or using a chip and pin terminal.

Despite this, 20% of respondents will always feel the need to carry around cash, no matter how many stores offer digital payment alternatives. 

Lower-income Australians are less likely to use mobile payments, the survey found.
 
Many Australian retailers are now refusing cash to try and protect the risk of spreading the virus. 87% of Capterras respondents who had a mobile wallet installed said they used it to make purchases before the lockdown. This increased marginally to 91% during the lockdown. 

Although digital wallets have a host of benefits, 57% still have an underlying concern over security; data being stolen or phones being hacked. Interestingly, the younger the person, the bigger a concern this became (66% of under 25-year olds).

 Concerns about cashless payments and mobile wallets, included:

  • Not wanting to get caught out by businesses that only accept cash payment (39%)
  • Preferring to pay for small amounts using cash (28%)
  • Not wanting to give their spending data to companies (16%.)

 
"Social distancing measures have driven consumers and businesses closer towards a more cashless future in Australia. As stores, restaurants, bars and cafes began to reopen their doors, we saw them take steps towards creating safer environments for their customers," says Anna Hammond, content analyst.

From the months of April to May, Capterra experienced a 37% increase on its website for individuals browsing payment processing softwarea technology that allows businesses to take digital payments, eliminating the need to hard cash.

"However, many demographics, particularly older generations and lower earners, require more time to adapt to the concept of a completely cashless society," says Hammond.

"Businesses considering switching to digital payment processing, therefore, should ensure they're choosing software that offers in-store cash payments too."

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