Cash no longer king

BY Australian Retailers Association
15 December 2015

Australians of all ages are embracing contactless payments, with 66 percent preferring to use tap and go for small transactions under $100 instead of entering their PIN, and 64 percent favouring it as a payment method over cash.

According to the Galaxy research commissioned by MasterCard, speed and convenience continue to generate increased adoption of the technology by Aussies  at 77 percent, while safety benefits available through contactless cards are also contributing to its growing popularity over cash.

The majority of Australians (82 percent) believe they are more likely to be reimbursed for unauthorised contactless payments made with a stolen credit or debit card than they are likely to get stolen cash back.

First introduced into Australia in 2007, contactless payments have been one of the fastest adopted payment technologies globally, and despite recent reports, MasterCard data in addition to industry data, reveals no increase in fraud specifically relating to contactless payments. Australian Card Data has found that fraud relating to contactless payments makes up less than 2% of all total card fraud. This is despite huge growth in the category, where contactless MasterCard transactions have grown 148 percent.

MasterCard SVP and Country Manager, Andrew Cartwright, said the research indicates not only a shift in the preferred methods in which consumers like to pay, but also suggests that they are beginning to understand and trust the safety benefits associated with paying by card.

"As contactless payments continue to rise, cash is increasingly become unnecessary real estate in wallets," said Mr Cartwright.

“I’ll take a card any day of the week – it is safer than cash.  With a card I’m protected against unauthorised purchases, whereas, if my wallet is stolen, the cash is as good as gone," he said.

Shoppers in Western Australia have the highest preference for contactless payments in the country at 72 percent; followed by shoppers in NSW, 67 percent; Victoria and Tasmania at 66 percent.

Australian retailers that offer the payment method are also reaping the rewards, with faster transaction times and reduced cash handling. With 625,000 terminals in Australia, recent MasterCard transaction data shows strong growth in the penetration of contactless in movie theatres, fast food outlets, convenience stores, chemists, and bars and nightclubs.

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Australian Retailers Association

Founded in 1903, the Australian Retailers Association (ARA) is Australia’s largest retail association representing Australia’s $310 billion sector, which employs more than 1.2 million people. As the retail industry’s peak representative body, the ARA works to ensure retail success by informing, protecting, advocating, educating and saving money for its 7,500 independent and national retail members throughout Australia. For more information, visit or call 1300 368 041.

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