The rise of digital payment tech in Australia


Technology is advancing faster than ever before, and with the digital age comes an increasing demand for digital payments. Consumers want fast, convenient methods of payment that they know are reliable, trustworthy and safe from fraudsters. From simply buying groceries to buying shares on trading platforms, in this fast-paced world, Australian consumers want 24/7 digital transactions at their fingertips.

There is a myriad of ways to pay digitally available in Australia now for both individual customers and businesses. The simplest and most common form is a debit or credit card, which most people are very familiar with. This method can sometimes be open to fraudulent activity though, and PayPal is believed to be more secure. This is an account that manages online transactions securely. It is encrypted, to give additional protection, and also provides a refund if the item ordered online fails to arrive, or is faulty, damaged or otherwise unacceptable. If an item needs to be returned, PayPal will reimburse the cost of return postage too. Once an account is set up, payment through PayPal is fast, safe and easy. PayPal is widely accepted by many retailers and service providers, so is very convenient.

Another growing area is cryptocurrency payment. Once considered very niche and ‘techy’ cryptocurrency is now growing in popularity, becoming more mainstream, with famous brands such as Expedia, Pizza Hut and Microsoft now accepting Bitcoin as a legitimate payment method. Mobile payments through systems like Paym, Apple Pay and Samsung pay are also growing in popularity, as Australians tend to be early adopters of digital technology. In fact, the total transaction value of digital payments in Australia in 2020 is predicted to reach $48,752m, and mobile POS payment in Australia is expected to reach 5.1m users by 2024.

As more businesses and franchises in Australia are able to accept digital payments, it almost seems as though the country could be heading towards becoming a cashless society. The current Covid-19 global pandemic has also led more people to favour online payments and digital transactions such as contactless card payments to avoid the spread of the virus through handling cash or touching card machine keypads. Any laggards who were previously reluctant to use contactless or digital payments may now have been persuaded to give it a try. The over 70’s, while perhaps less likely to engage with digital technology previously, are now keen to avoid Covid-19, being at a greater risk of becoming seriously ill. This means more are now adopting cashless digital technology.

Many businesses in Australia accept a wide range of digital payments, and payment via digital wallets on mobile devices is also burgeoning. Services such as Mastercard Pay Pass Wallet, Google Pay and Lemon Wallet enable shoppers to buy items with just their smartphones or watch devices, as all banking and credit card details are stored in a safe encrypted app. And for bargain hunters, handy apps such as Stocard let you keep all your store card details saved in one online wallet, so you always have them to hand.

Exclusive to Australia, the Commbank Kaching app enables you to pay anybody anywhere, as well as paying to friends using Facebook contacts, mobile contacts, or email. It can also facilitate contactless payment.

There’s no doubt that businesses are also embracing digital technology, but are unlikely to go totally cashless any time soon. Technology is fast and convenient, but when it fails, cash is still king.