Cashless society on horizon as Aussies embrace digital transactions
The march towards a cashless society is gathering momentum, with a rise in digital wallet use prompting more companies to offer online only products and services.
A report by UK-based Juniper research predicted that digital wallets- in the form of smartphones and other devices used to make online payments- will account for $1.35 trillion in global spend by the end of 2017- a 32 per cent increase on 2016.
The research comes just over a year since the Westpac Cash Free report revealed the majority of smart phone users believed Australia could become cashless as early as 2022. Smart phone users already made 53 per cent of their payments digitally and 79 per cent believed it would soon become the norm.
Westpac’s head of consumer deposits Elliot Smith said at the time that “in the last 12 months there has been a 200 per cent increase in Westpac customers using their mobile to tap and pay. Cashless technology is the way of the future.”
Digital payment providers have since jumped on board. The Hey You and Menulog apps allow customers to order and pay for food from favourite local cafes and restaurants, while one of the latest concepts to come on board is digital gift card giving, where vouchers for major stores can be bought, sent and received via mobile phone instantly.
Prezzee co-founder Claire Morris said the company launched after recognising the chance to improve a growing industry in Australia.
“The gift card market in Australia is worth $4.5 billion annually,” Ms Morris said. “Digital gift cards are more personal than giving someone cash. You have them on your phone, you never lose them and if you lose your phone, we put a hold on the card.”
Prezzee partnered with large retailers Myer, David Jones, JB Hi-Fi, Woolworths, Coles and others, making money by taking a percentage of the card’s value. Ms Morris believes physical gift cards may no longer exist in three to five years.
“For younger users, cash will be a thing of the past,” she said. “Some already buy themselves gift cards to Coles or Woolies and use them to go shopping. It is a form of budgeting.”
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