Aussies accumulating more debt shopping online than in-store


Are credit cards and online stores a bad financial pairing? New research seems to indicate just that, with a significant proportion of Aussie credit cardholders admitting they are accumulating more debt when shopping online compared with in-store shopping.

From a CouriersPlease (CP) survey of an independent, nationally representative panel of 1021 Australian, 30 per cent of credit cardholders say that online shopping has created more credit card debt them.


Online shopping responsible for more credit card usage, compared with in-store purchasing

The debt might be explained by the fewer payment options when shopping online. The survey revealed that a slightly higher proportion of online shoppers (42 per cent of shoppers) use their credit card online than a debit card (40 per cent). Eighteen (18) per cent use a payment plan such as lay-by or ‘buy now pay later services’ such as Afterpay and Zip Pay.


When shopping in-store, however, just 35 per cent of shoppers use a credit card, and significantly more (47 per cent) use a debit card. In-store shopping also has the benefit of cash payments, with 16 per cent of shoppers using this payment method. A significantly smaller proportion of in-store purchases are made via a payment plan (just 3 per cent of shoppers use this method).


Online shoppers paying more credit card interest

When credit cardholders were asked about the percentage of their card debt they pay off each month, nearly half (43 per cent) pay off just up to 75 per cent of their balance each month. Thirty-two (32) per cent pay off less than 50 per cent of their credit card each month, and 17 per cent pay off less than 20 per cent of their balance each month.


CP spokesperson, Jessica Ip, says: “Our research indicates that online shopping transactions in Australia are more likely to have a more positive growth rate than with in-store purchase levels, with more people relying on credit and buy-now-pay-later services – essentially with money they don’t have – when making online purchases.


“With the online market attracting a growing level of transactions, retailers are now looking to help eliminate consumer disadvantages that are unique to that market: deliveries and returns. Free and fast shipping will help promote repurchasing and increase customer loyalty.”


How Aussies most commonly pay for their online purchases

Percentage (%)

I use my credit card


I use my debit card


I use a payment plan (eg. Lay-by, Afterpay, Zip Pay)



How Aussies commonly pay for in-store purchases

Percentage (%)

I use my debit card


I use my credit card


I pay in cash


I use a payment plan (eg. Lay-by, Afterpay, Zip Pay)



Percentage of credit card debt Aussies pay off each month

Percentage (%)

100% – I pay it off in full each month


Less than 20%