Card vs cash – How do Australians pay?

This morning you may have treated yourself to a takeaway coffee. But how did you pay for it? Find out why card is king for many Aussies.

This morning you may have treated yourself to a takeaway coffee. Here’s a question though: how did you pay for it?

Cash? Maybe.

Card? Sure, but who’s got time to remember their pin and then wait for a receipt?

Chances are, you used ‘tap and go’. And you’re in good company.

Recently released research by the Reserve Bank of Australia1 showed that in 2016 card payments surpassed cash payments for the first time, driven largely by the rise of ‘tap and go’ payments.

Cards were used by 52% of payments according to the research, up from 43% in 2013, and ahead of cash at only 37%.2

The increasing use of cards, especially for lower-value payments, has been aided greatly by the rise of contactless ‘tap and go’ functionality, which is being embraced by consumers and merchants alike.3

In 2016, around one-third of all point-of-sale transactions were done using ‘tap and go’ functionality. As a share of total card payments, the rise of ‘tap and go’ is even clearer – nearly two-thirds of all payments were made using this new functionality.4

As transactions become easier though, it can become harder to keep track of your spending. But it doesn’t have to.

“Paying on card can create a disconnect between the consumer and the amount they are spending. With cash, you know exactly what you are spending and when,” says Michael Christofides, Director of Retail Solutions, AMP Bank.

“You can see your money depleting. With card, you only notice what you are spending when you check your account online or your mobile app.”

Michael says the best way to ensure you don’t tuck into your savings is to split your account into three, setting aside money for bills, savings and spending money.

“There are accounts such as the AMP Bett3r Account (Bett3r) that automatically allocate funds to different ‘buckets’ (accounts), enabling consumers closer control over how they spend their money, their savings,” he says.

Those quick ‘tap and go’ charges for a morning coffee, a late-night taxi or even that sale you just couldn’t walk past all add up, and without an easy-to-use money management tool like Bett3r, you can quickly find yourself in a spending spiral.

It’s not all doom and gloom though. ‘Tap and go’ gives us some much-needed simplicity in our busy and chaotic lives, we just need to make sure we’re as committed to managing our virtual currency as we are the notes in our wallet.

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Any advice in this page is general in nature and is provided by AMP Life Limited ABN 84 079 300 379 (AMP Life). The advice does not take into account your personal objectives, financial situation or needs. Therefore, before acting on this advice, you should consider the appropriateness of this advice having regard to those matters. AMP Bett3r Account is issued by AMP Bank Limited ABN 15 081 596 009, AFSL 234517. Consider the terms and conditions available on request by calling 13 30 30 or at and whether this product is appropriate for you. Fees and charges apply.

Although the information is from sources considered reliable, AMP does not guarantee that it is accurate or complete. You should not rely upon it and should seek qualified advice before making any decision. Except where liability cannot be excluded, AMP does not accept any liability for any resulting loss or damage.