‘Un-chequed’ growth: Australians abandon paper payments in record numbers

Cheque use rates have plunged by 20 per cent to 111.6 million transactions, the largest drop ever recorded, as Australians forgo paper and embrace digital payments.

The latest figure is yet another nail in the coffin for paper-based payments, with cheque use rates plunging by 56 per cent within the last five years, according to figures released in the Milestones Report, an annual survey conducted by the Australia Payments Network.

Significantly, the exchange value of cheques also shrank by 6 per cent in 2016 despite remaining largely flat in previous years.

According to the report, the steady decline in cheque-based transactions echoes the national trend towards a cashless society.

Indeed, ATM usage rates have experienced a commensurate fall, with total ‘cash machine’ withdrawals plunging by 7.5 per cent to 648.5 million in 2016, following a 5.5 per cent drop in 2015.

Since 2011, ATM withdrawals have dropped by a total of 22 per cent.

Increasing smartphone penetration rates (reaching 84 per cent in 2016) are considered “an important contributing factor” to the decline in paper-based payments, the report said.

“Looking at the payment choices that Australians make, it’s clear that the vast majority of us are moving away from cash and cheques faster than ever before, Dr Leila Fourie, CEO of the Australian Payments Network, said.

“This is happening because of widespread use of new technology combined with a strong preference for faster and more convenient payment options.”

While often regarded as the last bastion of cheque payments, curiously, online spending rates for seniors (those aged over 65) have increased by 7.5 per cent, as many seek the convenience of screen-based purchases.

 

Related Stories

Asian investors have backed a US$13 million capital raising for a Melbourne-based payments company, Airwallex.
Asia-Australia fintech links strong
 The recent announcement of the series A capital raise from Chinese investors for Melbourne-based... Read More
A prototype pair of tap-to-pay sunglasses has been unveiled by global payments giant, Visa, which would be first used by athletes during the World Surf League.
Visa’s e-payment sunglasses ready for launch
Anything that can support an NFC chip is now able to be purchased using a pair on sunglasses, with... Read More
A shortage of talent in technology would see salaries for digital roles hold firm, while the traditional finance sector struggled, according to Willis Towers Watson.
Salaries for digital roles hold while bank salaries slow
A study on workplace payments in 2017 from Willis Towers Watson (WTT) is showing that digital... Read More
Banks should use blockchain to challenge payments market disruptors
Harnessing the power of blockchain is helping banks to continue a transitional period from... Read More

Comments