Australia’s economy in recession
In Australia, a world without cheques, fewer ATMs and a regulatory push to lower electronic transaction fees as fewer people use cash are some of the likely impacts of Covid-19 on payments, the Reserve Bank has said.
RBA assistant governor Michele Bullock told a Morgan Stanley disruption conference on Wednesday that cash was now the payment method for just 25% of transactions, or around 10% of their value.
The long-term decline of cash has been accelerated by merchants and consumers concerned about hygiene during the Covid-19 pandemic, with many putting up signs asking for card payments or rejecting cash altogether, she said.
As shoppers flocked instead to online shopping, where cash was not an option, ATM withdrawals in April were down 30% from the month before and more than 40% lower than the year before.
Bullock said it was “likely that a large part of this will become a permanent change in behaviour” and add to pressure on banks to reduce the number of ATMs in their networks – a consolidation that will be “more urgent” and occur “more quickly” as a result.