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New poll confirms Australians prefer card to cash

A YouGov Galaxy poll has found many shoppers are ditching cash in preference of card, while banks continue to add more card options to their mobile wallets.

One-in-three Australians are card-only shoppers and almost all prefer card to cash when given the option, a YouGov Galaxy poll released on Monday said.

The poll, commissioned by payments provider Square, surveyed 1,000 Australians and suggests that many have ditched cash or carry it only as a last resort.

According to the poll, four-in-five Australians said paying by card is much faster and more convenient than paying with cash. Around one-in-five respondents had not been near a bank or ATM in the past four weeks, or can't remember the last time they withdrew physical cash.

With the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) in July publishing research that shows consumers are more likely to trust a business if they accept electronic payment methods, rather than those requesting payment in cash-only, the YouGov survey also reported consumer behaviour affecting organisations.

Monday's report said more than half of small and medium-sized businesses believe their firm will become cashless in the future.

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

Australia has one of the highest usage rates of contactless payments. Mastercard reports its PayPass "tap-and-go" functionality is used in around 80 percent of face-to-face transactions; it's a similar story where Visa is concerned, with 92 percent of in-person transactions on the Visa network utilising its PayWave service.

Australia also has one of the highest concentration of point-of-sale devices in the world with 960,000 Eftpos terminals, electronic payments industry group AusPayNet reports. However, while the country has more than 30,000 ATMs across the nation, that number has dropped by 1,200 in the past two years.

Although the tap-and-go function is heavily utilised in Australia, less than 1 percent of contactless payments are conducted via mobile or wearable means. But that hasn't stopped Australian financial institutions offering up smartphone and wearable payment options.

Must read: Wearable payments: A gimmick that might take off

The Commonwealth Bank of Australia (CBA) on Monday announced the integration of Visa cards to its mobile app tap and pay function, also allowing for Visa cardholders to use their card through Samsung Pay and Google Pay, well as payments via Fitbit and Garmin's payment-enabled smartwatches.

CBA made Samsung Pay available in February to Mastercard cardholders, after in November adding Android Pay to its non-card payments, and making payments available using a Garmin smartwatch in September last year.

Citing stats published as part of its full-year results earlier this year, CBA said smartphone payments grew 35 percent in the past six months.

Despite highlighting the importance of alternative payment methods to a physical card, the bank is yet to offer Apple Pay, opting instead for a tap and pay sticker for iPhone users.

CBA, alongside Westpac, the National Australia Bank (NAB), and Bendigo and Adelaide Bank, were previously pushing for regulatory approval to collectively bargain with Apple for open-access to the NFC antenna on the iPhone.

After labelling Apple Pay alternatives "unrealistic" in the Australian market, the banking cartel had their request denied by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission.

NAB offers its own in-app NAB Pay function, Samsung Pay, Google Pay, both Fitbit and Garmin Pay, as well as a PayTag for iPhone purchases.

Instead of just plugging into devices manufactured by others, Westpac launched its own range of wearable, hands-free, and battery-free payment accessories, but it still offers Fitbit and Garmin Pay. The red and white bank also integrates with both the Samsung and Google Pay wallets.

Meanwhile, ANZ bank has had Apple Pay available to customers since 2016.

With AAP

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