The numbers are in: 53% of payments made in Australia are now done with cards or mobile payment apps. Mobile-based tap-and-pay systems have seen a surge in usage of over 200% in the last 12 months. Australians are predicting that our country will be cash free by 2022 (in June, if you want to be really specific). So long, cash! It's been nice knowing you.
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Westpac's Cash Free Report looks into the data behind how Australians are spending money in 2015, but also gauged public opinion on the matter, seeing how consumers see their spending habits evolving into the digital age. They found that four out of five Australian smartphone users believe that making payments via their devices will soon become the new norm — and we're already seeing this trend in motion. From cardless cash systems that use your phone in lieu of a bank card, to mobile-based tap-to pay apps, everyone is getting in on the new technology. Even Snapchat, an app that's notorious for sexting and selfies, has released its 'Snapcash' feature in the US.
Westpac's recent investment in smartphone app Hey You is part of their effort to keep abreast of new technology in this area. Hey You lets users with the app order takeaway food and coffee from any local affiliated café, paying on their smartphone and picking up their order when it's ready (because 3 in 5 people find queuing frustrating, apparently). It's becoming more and more likely that your smartphone will soon be able to replace your wallet entirely.
There is a downside to these advances in technology, however — at least for the businesses who prefer to deal in cash. An overwhelming 83% of people agreeing that businesses will be left behind if they fail to offer a digital option for payment. How often do we hear someone ask 'do they take card?' on a daily basis — maybe you're the one asking, if you're one of the increasing number who are choosing to eschew cash as much as physically possible. Or maybe you're a traditionalist, and prefer to keep a more physical aspect to your wealth.
Do you think cash still has a place in the Australia of the future, or do you agree with those who believe we will move entirely to digital wallet technology? Tell us in the comments!