The Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) has released a discussion paper outlining the results of its 2016 Consumer Payments Survey (CPS) regarding how Australian consumers make payments. The 2016 CPS was completed by more than 1,500 participants over a one week period and consisted of three parts:

  • a pre-diary questionnaire about the participant’s demographic characteristics;
  • a seven-day payments diary; and
  • a post-survey questionnaire about the participant’s automatic payment arrangements and preferences about particular payment methods.

For the first time, cards replaced cash as the most frequently used means of payment, accounting for 52% of payments whereas cash only accounted for 37% of payments. Contactless ‘tap and go’ cards were also found to be increasingly popular, especially for lower value transactions, and accounted for two-thirds of in person card payments.

Despite new methods of payment technology, the CPS found that not all new methods have been broadly adopted. For instance, the ability to make mobile payments (eg, with a mobile phone or other portable device) accounted for approximately 1% of point-of-sale transactions.  The majority of participants indicated that they were satisfied with existing payment methods. However, consumers are using mobile phones more often to make online and person-to-person payments, and trends to adopt electronic payment methods will likely continue to rise.