Cash is still king for many older Australians

Older Australians still prefer to use cash rather than cards, a new study shows.

The Reserve Bank’s report How Australians Pay: Evidence from the 2016 Consumer Payments Survey, released this week, found that younger people started the week with an average of $20 in their pockets, but over 65s held an average of $95.

This was more than double the amount held by the next closest age group, those aged between 50 and 64.

“The main reason given by respondents for holding cash in their wallets, other than for day-to-day transactions, was for precautionary purposes (i.e., to fund emergency transactions),” the report said.

But the overall trend was away from cash, with the survey results showing that in 2016, the volume of transactions for card-based payments exceeded cash transactions for the first time.

The report also said consumers were increasingly using their mobile phones to make online and person-to-person payments and using automatic payments, such as direct debits, more frequently.

The survey was based on information from 17,000 day-to-day payments made by more than 1,500 participants during a week.

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