Behavioural change necessary for cash-carrying Aussies

06 Apr 2020

Seven out of 10 Australians still carry cash and nearly two thirds prefer the tangible feel of cash over cards or a mobile wallet, according to fresh research from MYOB.

With security measures tightening across the country to contain the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19), consumer and business behavior will require a considerable shift if a move to contactless payments is mandated, according to MYOB’s Chief Economist Jon Manning.

“It’s surprising to see so many Aussies still carrying cash, given Australia is generally regarded as being at the forefront of contactless payments,” Mr. Manning said.

“There’s been an extremely high adoption rate and some sources claim there’ll be 14.9 billion contactless card payments in 2023.”

With increasingly stringent measures being enforced across the country to stem the transmission of coronavirus, moving to contactless payment solutions is one way businesses can reduce the risk of transmitting the virus via cash.

“If there is a push for 100% contactless payments, it will be an adjustment for businesses and consumers alike, especially the 27% of respondents who choose to pay for essentials like groceries with cash,” Mr. Manning said.

“Businesses that are not currently contactless will need to pivot quickly. It’s important they consider some of the pet hates of consumers, including surcharges and minimums in-store.”

Eighty-one per cent of the 1000 research respondents don’t like stores requiring a minimum spend when using cards to purchase and 79% aren’t keen on surcharges for contactless payments. Sixty-two per cent of respondents don’t have a preference for cash only stores.

The vast majority (82%) of respondents prefer to use a physical credit or debit card for contactless payments and only 28% use a mobile wallet such as Apple Pay.

“A quarter of survey respondents use cash most of the time; we can’t underestimate how much of a shift contactless will be for them, particularly older Australians,” Mr. Manning said.

Despite holding onto physical cash, digital is still the preferred way for consumers to monitor their outgoings, with 63% finding it easier to keep track of their spending digitally.

Social researcher and demographer Mark McCrindle said that while COVID-19 presents challenges for organisations and individuals, it also provides opportunity to innovate and adapt.

“We’ll see changing behaviour from how we work to how we shop and pay,” Mr. McCrindle said.

“Many are already moving to the cashless economy, and for those who haven’t yet, these new stipulations provide an opportunity to minimize the risks of cash and more actively embrace contactless payments.”


For further comment or other information please contact:

Selina Ife, Communications Consultant, MYOB

About MYOB

MYOB is a leading provider of online business management solutions. MYOB makes business life easier for approximately 1.2 million businesses across Australia and New Zealand by simplifying accounting, payroll, tax, practice management, CRM, job costing, inventory and more. MYOB operates across three core segments – Clients and Partners (business solutions to SMEs and Advisers); Enterprise Solutions (larger businesses) and Payment Solutions. We also provide ongoing support via many client service channels including a network of over 40,000 accountants, bookkeepers and other consultants. We are committed to ongoing innovation, particularly through our Connected Practice Strategy and through the development of the MYOB Platform. For more information visit or follow @MYOB on Twitter.