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Tuesday, 01 December 2015 16:11

MasterCard survey suggests ‘cash no longer King’ for Aussie shoppers

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Is MasterCard desperate for Australians to give up cash? Cash may ‘no longer be King’ according to a MasterCard survey, but is that just a credit card company’s dream scenario?

Whenever a credit card company comes out suggesting ‘cash is no longer King,’ it seems hard to believe that there will ever be a time when humans will truly accept a cashless society.

Of course, as each new generation becomes ever more digitised and tech savvy, it also seems inevitable that economies will go completely cashless (as credit card companies look at all those transaction fees), but that’s like the mountain of cashless tomfoolery up against the tsunami of thousands of years of gold and silver being ‘real’ money, and not inflatable paper nonsense.

Or easily manipulable digits in a bank account, which can be withheld from you at any time a bank decides it is so as happened in Greece, or before that on the island of Cyprus.

At least with cash in hand, and plenty of it (not that I have terribly much of it at all, sadly) - you can be King. You can buy stuff while others are stuck at an ATM that won’t dispense cash, or with cards that no longer work because of whatever reason.

Thankfully, Australia’s experiences with bank problems only extend to a few isolated issues where a particular bank might have some outage lasting a few days at most, in very rare situations, but seeing what has happened in Greece and Cyprus, you can never be too careful, you can never be too trusting of banks, and you can never be too trusting of credit card companies!!!!!!!!!

Cash is King no matter what MasterCard says or its surveys uncover, with physical gold and silver the Universally-bestowed Emperors that rule above mere paper Kings.

All of that said, which presumably won’t please MasterCard or its PR company terribly much, is the news that Australians are nevertheless embracing contactless payments.

Heck, even I have a debit PayWave/Tap and Go MasterCard in my wallet which I love using - proving MasterCard right on a personal level despite all I have said above - with MasterCard’s survey noting that ’66% preferring to use tap and go for small transactions under a $100 instead of entering their PIN, and 64% favouring it as a payment method over cash.’

If I have a choice, I’ll use the contactless option every time, and I find that I only need to use the EFTPOS side of things to enter in a PIN number if I want to withdraw some actual cash.

The survey was commissioned by MasterCard and carried out by Galaxy research, and discovered that ‘speed and convenience continue to generate increased adoption of the technology by Aussies (77%), and safety benefits available through contactless cards are also contributing to its growing popularity over cash; the majority of Australians (82%) believe they are more likely to be reimbursed for unauthorised contactless payments made with a stolen credit or debit card than they are likely to get stolen cash back.’

Now, I have personally lost a wallet, just recently in fact, and I was very lucky - it was handed in to a police station by a very honest person, and nothing was missing - what little cash was in it was still there, all my cards were intact and more. It was such a relief to get it all back in one piece.

But wiht a contactless payment system, and no cash in your wallet, it’s much harder to lose your money, especially if you notify your bank immediately upon realising your wallet is missing, so that payments under $100 that a thief tries to make via your contactless payment card can be either presumably blocked or simply re-imbursed to you.

MasterCard reminds us that contactless payments were first introduced into Australian in 2007, a figure that I personally note is nearly an entire decade before the US, with contactless payments being one of the fastest-adopted payment technologies globally.

Despite recent reports that MasterCard does not link to, MasterCard says its data, in addition to industry data, ‘reveals no increase in fraud specifically relating to contactless payments.’

Australian Card Data, which comprises of MasterCard and Visa data, ‘has found that fraud relating to contactless payments makes up less than 2% of all total card fraud. This is despite huge growth in the category, where contactless MasterCard transactions have grown 148% (between July 2013 and 2014).’

Naturally, MasterCard SVP and Country Manager, Andrew Cartwright, said: “This research indicates not only a shift in the preferred methods in which consumers like to pay, but also suggests that they are beginning to understand and trust the safety benefits associated with paying by card. As contactless payments continue to rise, cash is increasingly become unnecessary real estate in wallets.

“I’ll take a card any day of the week – it is safer than cash. With a card I’m protected against unauthorised purchases, whereas, if my wallet is stolen, the cash is as good as gone”, said Cartwright.

More below, please read on!

Shoppers in West Australia have the highest preference for contactless payments in the country (72%), followed by shoppers in NSW (67%), VIC and TAS (66%).

The benefits of contactless payment technology aren’t just limited to shoppers, explains MasterCard. It says ‘Australian retailers that offer the payment method are also reaping the rewards, with faster transaction times and reduced cash handling.’

In addition, ‘with 625,000 terminals in Australia, recent MasterCard transaction data shows strong growth in the penetration of contactless in Movie theatres, Fast food outlets, Convenience stores, Chemists/Pharmacies and Bars/Nightclubs.’

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Alex Zaharov-Reutt

One of Australia’s best-known technology journalists and consumer tech experts, Alex has appeared in his capacity as technology expert on all of Australia’s free-to-air and pay TV networks on all the major news and current affairs programs, on commercial and public radio, and technology, lifestyle and reality TV shows. Visit Alex at Twitter here.

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