The 2016 Consumer Payments Survey

In November 2016, the Bank undertook its fourth triennial survey of consumer payments. As in previous surveys, participants recorded details about every transaction they made for a week – including value, payment method, channel (e.g. online or in person) and type of merchant – and provided additional information on their payment preferences and attitudes in a post-survey questionnaire. Over 1,500 people participated in the 2016 survey, recording around 17,000 day-to-day payments.

The survey showed that Australian consumers are continuing to switch to electronic payment methods in preference to paper-based methods – cash and cheques – for their transactions. Credit and debit cards combined were the most frequently used means of payment in the 2016 survey, overtaking cash. Cards are increasingly being used for lower-value transactions, reflecting the adoption of contactless ‘tap and go’ functionality at the point of sale. Although the share of payments made in cash continued to fall, cash was still used for over one-third of consumer payments.

Graph showing the percentual change of payments from 2013 to 2016 with the greatest change being the decline of cash and the rise of debit and credit cards.