COVID-19 Increases Australia’s Readiness Towards Becoming A Cashless Society


New research published by software comparison platform Capterra investigated how COVID-19 increased Australia’s readiness towards becoming a cashless society. More than half (55 per cent) are comfortable with the idea of a completely cashless society.


After Australia relaxed social distancing guidelines in May, businesses had to ensure they had the correct resources in place to handle contactless payments. In a survey of 1,020 respondents, Capterra Australia highlights how COVID-19 has meant more Australian consumers are embracing the idea of a cashless future than ever before.


  • 58% of Australians have a mobile wallet installed on their devices.
  • 97% of respondents plan to use mobile wallets post-COVID-19.
  • Health reasons are the biggest driver for using mobile wallets, with 33% of respondents preferring to avoid handling money or using a chip and pin terminal.
  • Despite this, 20% of respondents will always feel the need to carry around cash, no matter how many stores offer digital payment alternatives. 
  • Lower-income Australians are less likely to use mobile payments.


Many Australian retailers are now refusing cash to try and protect the risk of spreading the virus. 87 per cent of Capterra’s respondents who had a mobile wallet installed said they used it to make purchases before the lockdown. This increased marginally to 91 per cent during the lockdown. 


Although digital wallets have a host of benefits, 57 still have an underlying concern over security; data being stolen or phones being hacked. Interestingly, the younger the person, the bigger a concern this became (66% of under 25-year old’s).


Concerns about cashless payments and mobile wallets included:


  • Not wanting to get caught out by businesses that only accept cash payment (39%)
  • Preferring to pay for small amounts using cash (28%)
  • Not wanting to give their spending data to companies (16%.)


Social distancing measures have certainly driven consumers and businesses closer towards a more cashless future in Australia. As stores, restaurants, bars and cafes began to reopen their doors, we saw them take steps towards creating safer environments for their customers. From the months of April to May, Capterra experienced a 37 per cent increase on its website for individuals browsing payment processing software—a technology that allows businesses to take digital payments, eliminating the need to hard cash.


However, many demographics—particularly older generations and lower earners—require more time to adapt to the concept of a completely cashless society. Businesses considering switching to digital payment processing, therefore, should ensure they’re choosing software that offers in-store cash payments too.” – Anna Hammond, Content Analyst.


Survey Methodology

Capterra wanted to understand how ready Australian consumers were for becoming a cashless society. To ensure the survey panel was well representative of the wider consumer market, we included all ages, employment types, salaries and levels of technology knowledge. 


We surveyed people living in Australia, and over the age of 18-years-old. The panel included full-time employees (54 per cent), part-time employees (23 per cent), freelancers (three per cent), students (five per cent), people in retirement (12 per cent) and people who had been made redundant due to the pandemic (three per cent). 


The participants come from various business sectors and levels of seniority. The gender split was 58 per cent female and 42 per cent male, and incomes ranged from less than $15,000 per annum to more than $201,000 per annum.


The survey ran between 14th and 22nd of July.