The rise of digital payments

We explore the growing trend of digital payments and outline its benefits, challenges, how consumers and businesses can harness its full potential, and why cash still holds significance.

You’re about to enjoy a cappuccino from your local coffee shop, and you find yourself faced with an abundance of payment choices when the moment arrives to pay. Do you use your card? Cash? Your smart watch? Your phone? The chip embedded in your hand? (Just kidding).

This has become the reality with the rise of digital payments, with 98.9% of Australian customer banking interactions now taking place via apps or online, and cash being used for just 13% of payments (down from 70% in 2007).*

We’ve explored the growing trend of digital payments and outlined its benefits, challenges, how consumers and businesses can harness its full potential, and why cash still holds significance.


  • Convenience – the most obvious benefit that pops to mind is the convenience digital payments provide that not only allow us to make purchases swiftly, but reduces our reliance on physical cash and cards.
  • Enhanced security – with advanced encryption and authentication measures, digital payments provide a secure way to protect financial information, reducing the risk of fraud and theft.
  • Real time transactions – instant transfers and payments enable quicker access to funds and better visibility of financial status. For businesses, it also reduces the time staff need to spend handling, counting, reconciling and fixing errors that are associated with cash.
  • Contactless – COVID may feel like a lifetime ago, but during that time, contactless payments gained popularity as a hygienic option for both customers and businesses.


  • Cyber security – where there is technology, there are cyber-attacks, so you need to be on alert when making online transactions. If you’re unfamiliar with a name or purchase on your account, it’s best to contact your bank to check.
  • Connectivity – although most places we go have phone and internet coverage, this isn’t always the case, especially in regional areas and if connectivity is down.
  • Data privacy – digital transactions require more personal data, which as we know, runs the risk of ending up in the wrong hands.

While the vast majority of consumers and businesses using digital payments appears to be the way of the future, cash still provides inclusivity for those without digital access, can be vital in emergencies, practical for small transactions, and provide people with a level of privacy. However, with more and more talk of Australia becoming a ‘cashless society’, the relevance of physical currency prompts us to reflect on our evolving financial landscape.

So, how will you be paying for that cappuccino?


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