One-in-three shoppers go cashless

One-in-three Australians are card-only shoppers and almost all prefer card to cash when given the option, a new survey suggests.

The YouGov Galaxy poll of 1000 Australians released on Monday suggests millions have ditched cash or only carry it as a last resort.

Four-in-five Australians say paying by card is much faster and more convenient than paying with cash, the poll commissioned by payment provider Square suggests.

Close to five million haven’t been near a bank or ATM in the past four weeks or can’t remember the last time they withdrew cash.

Australians under 40 carry just an average of $38 while baby boomers have about $72 in their wallet.

The consumer behaviour is affecting organisations too with more than half of small and medium businesses believing their firm will become cashless in the future.

Nathan Dalah and his team at Sydney’s Fishbowl Sashimi Bar took that step this year after finding cash to “quite interruptive” and time-consuming for his staff.

“Being cashless means we no longer have to rely on our staff members across multiple locations to physically count cash, reconcile it and take it to the bank,” he said in a statement.

“Card payments eliminate accounting errors and wasted time, plus the experience is better because the queues move faster and the service is cleaner.”

The poll is further backed up by Commonwealth Bank data released on Monday showing smartphone payments grew 35 per cent in the past six months.

Australia has among the highest concentration of point-of-sale devices in the world with 960,000 EFTPOS terminals, electronic payments industry group AusPayNet says.

And while we have more than 30,000 ATMs across the nation, that number has dropped by 1200 in the past two years.

The number and value of ATM cash withdrawals have been declining since 2008, a Reserve Bank report said last year.

-AAP

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