The Meeting Place

Australia's shift to digital from cash hastened by COVID-19

australian cash and contactless payment system

COVID-19 may send tens of millions of coins to an early end, as the crisis virtually eliminates the demand for coins and Australia’s currency producers observe dramatic fluctuations in demand for cash.

According to Guardian Australia, “the Royal Australian Mint has seen “virtually no demand” for coins in 2020 as physical retail closed down, although the Reserve Bank of Australia – responsible for supplying banknotes – was forced to produce about 2.5bn extra banknotes to respond to a surge in Australians withdrawing their savings as early pandemic fear set in, behaviour which emptied consumer banks of their cash stores”.

The RBA acknowledges the increase in cash withdrawals doesn’t mean cash is back, as the popularity of cash transactions noted before the pandemic has actually intensified since the beginning of COVID-19 restrictions.

The RBA and the Mint will now consider further reductions in physical currency production as consumer behaviour favours online shopping, and retailers’ and shoppers’ preference for contactless payments increases.

In March the CBA recorded a record $1 billion in ‘digital wallet transactions’, and a 29 per cent reduction in ATM cash withdrawals in May compared with the same month last year.

There had been a 53 per cent drop in demand for coins between 2013 and 2019, said chief executive of the Royal Australian Mint, Ross MacDiarmid, adding that “there’s been virtually no sales for coins since the start of the year”.

“During Covid, what has unquestionably occurred is that people have stopped using currency entirely, or reduced it significantly,” he said.

“The question is what’s the legacy effect ... We just don’t know at this stage, and probably won’t know for another six months, until there’s been a period of normality.”

However, over-65s as a group have been resistant to digital payments, as have the linguistically diverse, lower-income families and students looking to save money.

“They know the less they have in their pocket, so the less they spend ... There is a level of comfort in cash, which continues to maintain anonymity,” he said.

Have you been using cash and coins less during the pandemic?

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Cash. Credit cards are too easy to use and you lose track of how much you have spent.

It's actually easier to keep track of your spending using a card because you can easily see a list of what yuo have spent your money on. With cash you would have to write each purchase down to keep track.

I agree with you RJ, unless you're on top of your bank account balance at least twice a day, your card spending can run away with you.

To apply for a NILS or Step Up Loan, (for those on pensions and low incomes, up to $3,000 if you need to purchase whitegoods, etc and you haven't got the cash), you need to have 3 months worth of bank statements.  This is why my 'free spending' will always be in cash, as I don't need prying eyes into everything I purchase.  I take out my food and spending money in cash each fortnight and what's left over (if any) goes into a 'secret stash' for me to use at my pleasure (clothes, shoes, etc), rather than stressing about whether I have enough left in the bank to be able to afford it.

Rod63, that's what MYOB is for.  I'm a qualified bookkeepper so I know how to use it and I can keep a very good eye on where & what I spend my money on.

RJ - lose track. really?

I never lose track, I never use cash, I have $70 in cash on me just in case but never touch it, literally been there for over a year now.

I'm an adult now, I can manage my money, keep track of what I've spent in my head and if any doubt call up a statement 100 times a day if I want.

That same statement also has a great record of ALL the things I buy, all in one place, very easy to see and can even use it to work out where your money goes.




I am like Greg. Keep $100 in wallet but always use my debit card for purchasing. Rarely use credit card. Never use buy now pay later schemes. The bank transaction records and the statement shows a record of my spending. I check it on line every day.






Geesus how much more do they want intrude into our private lives.....


Using a credit card encourages spendwatch handing over hard earned money is a lot harder to do. Cash cards gives the impression you are not really spending your money. Plus as " Panos " said more intrusion into our private lives.

I never use cash myself, prefer a contactless debit card these days.

Yes, I also use a card -- but it doesn't matter if it is a debt or a Credit -- they still know what and where you have been and what you buy.

Nice to have a little cash if one is traveling in country areas as there are  a lot of places that don't use cards -- AND I have seen my friend's cards get swallowed up in an ATM and they then had NO cash and NO card -- lucky I had some cash to loan them as they had to wait for 3 weeks to have the card replaced and we were a long way from home


Don't use ATM's either.

Think that "those" that know most about you are probably Centrelink and the ATO.

I really couldn't care less who knows what I buy actually.

So one stolen wallet and the recipient can rip you off for $1000 a day. Not my idea of safe. It happened to a friend of mine and it was incredibly hard to get the money refunded by the bank.

So one stolen wallet and the recipient can rip you off for $1000 a day. Not my idea of safe. It happened to a friend of mine and it was incredibly hard to get the money refunded by the bank.

Rosret, if you're referring to me ...

1. Card not carried in wallet.
2. Check my balance online twice a day.
3. My bank very supportive.

However, I have read of many having awful experiences which cost them a lot of money and emotional pain.

Rosret - How do they rip you off for $1,000 per day? They need you PIN, you don't write it down, they can't use your card electonically. As soon as you know your card is gone call the Bank, 24 hours, they stop the card and it's useless even if they did have the PIN.

Also if you report the loss transactions WILL BE REFUNDED as per the Bank's agreement.

I had someone use my credit card online in NZ, three days later the money had been refunded and the new card in my hands on the fourth day.


Greg, no they dont. Transactions up to $200 ($100 pre covid) do not require a pin now. Nor do online transactions. Very easy to clock up $1000 on a stolen card before the owner even knows it is missing. 

KSS - and the bank will refund you. Last year 0.044% of credit card transactions were frauds, an extremely small number of the totall transactions in Australia. 

Yes everything they are doing these days is another intrusion --even though most are not doing anything wrong we are entitled to privacy -- but big brother knows everything these days and it is getting worse and will continue to do so -- makes one wonder sometimes if a lot of things are planed

Can't remember the last time I used cash for anything.  I actually find keeping track of what I spend using online banking much easier than using cash.  I often used to wonder where the money went back in the 'cash' days.  Now I wonder no more, apart from "I wonder why the hell I bothered to waste my money on that ... whatever it happens to be?"  


Yes - it is much easier to keep track of spending using a card.

"Have you been using cash and coins less during the pandemic?"

Our shopping habits have been reduced but the choice of cash over plastic is unchanged. It's the little things that are annoying, not costly but annoying. Some outlets charge a small fee if plastic is used instead of cash and over the year this adds up. We grew up in an era where there were no credit cards and cashing a cheque with a retailer was almost impossible. Cash was the only sensible alternative and made budgeting very easy; empty pocket, no purchases. I can't see that cash will ever disappear.


Since lockdown, I have not visited a supermarket. In the past I had only used online shopping for some items which I bought in bulk. Now however, I find because I am getting such good service from online shopping in every direction, I don't need to put my health at risk or waste my time at the shops.

I still like having some cash around..funny, but not having some cash on me is like leaving the house without a handbag! For me digital is not a problem but I can see it being one for people who are not used to it. 

What happens when interests are negative. We are forced to use banking institutions by government and though it costs nothing at the moment this can change.

That's a very good point. While cash in hand doesn't gain interest it also isn't subject to negative interest, bank fees and transaction charges.

I have used cash all through COVID-19 and will continue to do so. I will NOT use a card to pay for a newspaper or a coffee.

I do however use a card to pay for my weekly shop or other bigger purchases and will continue to do so. It is my choice how I pay for things not the banks. 

Well the "bank's" don't make that decision, the government/Reserve Bank would.

Just as soon as this COVID is over I will use cash again where it suits. When the internet is down, when the power is off, when you don't want your partner to know how much you paid for their birthday present, when you want to give children pocket money, when you want to let children run errands, when you are concerned about security. Cash is real.

Virtual money creams money off the top and it goes straight out of Australia, virtual money can be intecepted and taxed at any point, virtual money is the most insecure form - especially paywave, virtual money is tracked for commercial database analysis. If the banks collapse that virtual money no longer exists.

Virtual money? 

What the hell are you on about? And what's paywave done to you? 

It really sounds like you have no idea how it works. The world isn't out to get you. Billions of people around the world manage fine with electronic transactions. I think you shouldn't use the internet, don't watch TV, go back to the good old days and just do some gardening.

You are all mising the point about entering into a cashless society.  The most important thing you need to realise is that the move to cashless is about one over riding thing, the elephant in tne room if you will. 

That is that this is all about control over YOU at a very fundamental level.  Without cash every single thing you buy or sell will be done via a bank. The banksters are the ones who, at the behest of the incumbent government, will control the flow of YOUR money.

Picture this... you write an opinion piece about something you are passionate about and post it on a social media platform. Unfortunately your opinion differs to the govt.s position. You are instructed to remove the post. You object to not being able to express your opinion and decline their request. Your failure to comply with the govt. narrative places you in a dissenter type category, and your bank is notified. They then follow their directives (as they do in such caseS) and deny you access to your account. You are locked out. You can't buy anything. With a few keystrokes you have lost the life you once knew, and it will stay gone until you choose to comply and be a good obedient little citizen.

Think this is a little over the top, or the result of an over active imagination? 

Not so, it's happening right now in Sweden, a country that wishes to be seen as one  that is quick on the uptake of new tech and wishes to follow the One World Government agenda. 

The citizens are now discovering they hate it. Another freedom gone. Another level of control to keep you kowtowing to the govt.

We ALL must use cash as much as possible, for as long as possible, and yell, scream and resist this as much as possible.  There will be shops that shun cash transactions but so long as our money is "legal tender" they obliged to accept it.  If they dig their toes in and still refuse, tell them in no uncertain terms you will never shop there again.

CASH IS KING for many good reasons. Don't throw away one of the last vestiges of freedom we still have.

Another crazy enters the room.

This is not about controlling you at all, what a lot of rubbish.

If that was case why couldn't the government NOW stop your bank account? That would stop you making withdrawals of cash. Explain whay they don't do that if they want to control you.

FFS, some of you people are so stupid.

And by the way a retailer CAN refuse cash, there is no law saying they must accept cash. Legal tender (in Australia) only means that the $5 note in your hands is the legal currency of Australia.

Look at the Reserve Banks website, it explains Legal Tender and the ability of ANYONE to refuse cash.


Good points Funkee.

Greg just because someone has an opinion that differs from you does not mean they are crazy or anything else you like to calle anyone who has an opinion that does not agree with you.

Incognito - Okay it's an opinion but it's a crazy opinion. Another conspiracy theory that's ridiculous. Obviously you agree, another conspiracy theory crazy.  LOL.

I only said Funkee has some good points, I did not say that I agree or disagree, you jump to conclusions.

"Good points Funkee."

Your right, that's sounds like you disagree, hahaha

What will I do with my tin full of 5 cent and 10 cent coins. It is so heavy I can hardly lift it from the floor. One day I will take it to the bank and may get a pleasant surprise, that is if CentreLink does not find out and suggest I am 'hiding' cash assets.

Better cash in your cash Eddy before it is worth nothing.



Good luck with that Eddy. For years I have put whatever coins I have at the end of a week into a piggy bank (literally). When the pig is full, I would empty it, count it out, bag it up and take it to the bank to exchange for notes. I viewed that money as ' free' money to do with whatever I wanted. After all it was mine, I saved it from declared income and could keep or spend as I wished.

Now however, you are not allowed to do that anymore. You MUST deposit the coins into a machine at the bank and you MUST have an account into which it is deposited. Why? Because the BANK has decided it is a security risk. Never mind you can withdraw ten times the amount or more over the counter! Further, you are not allowed to then go to the counter and withdraw that same money because they don't actually process the deposit until 6pm that day or even the day after. 

So now you have amounts of between $250 and $400 being deposited into your account fairly regularly for which you have no proof from whence it came. Try explaining that to Centrelink!




Debit Card, ComBank have been faultless in their support.  First purchase overseas on line, recieved a support phone call within a hour. Card illegaly used In Ireland and America, Combank got it sorted and our money refunded.    


How did your card get used in Ireland and America? Did you not use a secure paying system, try using paypal you do not need to have an account.

gnome - yep same here, ANZ, card used online in NZ, near $3,000 and three days later funds back into my account.

It's just life, it's how it works. The banks are very keen for you to use their cards and are very good at refunding when something goes wrong. Can't get a refund when someone steals your cash.

Incognito - You need this explained to you???

Wow....gnome, like me, has a credit card, somehow his account number was obtained by a criminal and they either had a card made or did online transactions. If online the person could be anywhere in the world.

This has nothing to do with a secure payment system, gnome wasn't making the transactions.

Credit Card fraud has existed since they started back in the 70's/80's. In 1982 when working in a bank the write off amounts for credit cards was enormous, think it was $400 odd million dollars for Comm Bank alone. That's one of the reasons interest rates are so high on them to offset the amounts of losses. That's why they have expiry dates on the cards, back in the early days transactions weren't online around the world, people could steal your card go overseas and live off the card until the card expired. 

No I do not need it explained, I was interested to know how they got his credit card details.

Well how would he know?


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