20 October 2020
'Cash use plummets during COVID-19. But why is there concern over a move to a 'cashless society'?'
Stuart Marsh - Senior Producer
The number of Australians using physical cash to pay for goods and services plummeted during COVID-19, but experts believe the country is not quite ready for a completely cashless society.
Alan Shields, Chief Operating Officer at business intelligence firm RFi Group, said they had seen a crash in the rate of cash usage to just 19 per cent of transactions in 2020.
This was associated with a rise in contactless payments, and the emergence of "mobile wallets" on smartphones.
Despite this, Mr Shields does not believe that cash is dead.
"An environment in which we are asked to sanitise our hands in every shop is obviously not conducive to handling cash," said Mr Shields.
"Is this the death knell we have been waiting for? Not really.
"In 2021, RFi expects a small rebound followed by a return to longer term downward trends for cash usage. But by 2025 it is still anticipated cash will account for more than 10 per cent of transactions."