Aside from those that involve the tooth fairy, cash transactions are at an all-time low.
According to the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA), cash accounted for just 13 per cent of all payments made in 2022.
The ability to pay by tapping our phones is partly driving the downward trend.
“Even credit cards, or debit cards, are starting to feel a bit antiquated,” Chris Berg, director of the RMIT Blockchain Innovation Hub, tells ABC RN’s Download This Show.
Cash payments plummeted during the first two years of the coronavirus pandemic, when online shopping spiked, and they show little sign of bouncing back.
According to RBA data, just 7 per cent of Australians are “high cash users” (those who use cash for 80 per cent or more of their in-person transactions). That’s a 50 per cent drop since 2019.
While the benefits of phasing out cash include increased convenience, transparency and safety, the transition to a wholly digital economy risks excluding some sections of society.
“A lot of policymakers will talk about the end of cash as if it is something we should be aspiring to,” Dr Berg says.