Australians are going cold on cash with new research revealing one in four of us want to make payments by card or mobile only. But a world of only digital transactions could mean pain for some members of society.
ING's International Survey Mobile Banking 2017, canvassed nearly 15,000 adults across 15 countries. Of approximately 1000 Australians surveyed, 24 per cent said they would welcome a completely cashless society if given the option.
More than half the respondents said they used cash much less than just 12 months ago, while 27 per cent said they would be comfortable going without cash forever, said news.com.au.
A healthy 43 per cent were confident they could go cash-free for one month while 57 per cent said they could go a week.
Interestingly, 27 per cent claimed to be already at the stage where they don't usually carry cash and 66 per cent said they would prefer to visit a store that only accepted cashless payments than a store that was 'cash only'.
An overall increase in the use of technology played a significant role in the move away from cash, claimed John Arnott, ING's executive director, customers.
"Many of us get our news from our phones, we set up appointments, we order dinner on the way home and do our banking and shopping on our phones," Mr Arnott said. "A year ago, you would see very few people using their smartphone to pay at a cafe, but today it's rapidly becoming commonplace.
"Australia got its first ATM only 40 years ago, and in a relatively short space of time we've been given so much more choice in how and when we make payments."
Those worried cash will disappear can find comfort that the research also found 86 per cent of Aussies still used cash for purchases under $15, while 79 per cent don't believe we will ever be completely cashless and 76 per cent used cash in the three days before they were surveyed.
A cashless society would be bad news for some, with an ME study finding no cash means 61 per cent of people are less generous.
For cash-fed economies, this meant people would tip waiters 45 per cent less often, donate to charities on the street 44 per cent less and pay street performers 42 per cent less of the time. Homeless or less fortunate people could also expect to be given money 42 per cent less often.
"Consumers are benefiting ... but there are also losers ... including those who in the past have relied on gratuities and cash donations," ME spokesman Nic Emery said. "The move to digital money may also exclude some Australians as going cashless requires an active bank account, which many of our poorest are unlikely to have."