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    Why some Australians prefer paying by cash with security and privacy fears among reasons

    Cash ISN’T dead with fearful Australians declaring they still use banknotes because they have security concerns about tap-and-go payments

    • Reserve Bank of Australia reveals why a minority of consumers still prefer cash
    • One in four of them cited privacy or security as their main reason for banknotes
    • Central bank study also found cash users were typically older, poorer, regional 
    • Here’s how to help people impacted by Covid-19

    Australians who prefer buying goods with cash instead of tap-and-payments are worried about security.

    The Reserve Bank of Australia has revealed why a minority of consumers are still opting for banknotes.

    Supermarkets and cafes are strongly discouraging their customers from paying by cash during the coronavirus pandemic.

    Even before the onset of COVID-19, one in four old-fashioned Australians who preferred using notes and coins cited privacy or security concerns as their main reason.

    Even before the onset of COVID-19, one in four old-fashioned Australians who preferred using notes and coins cited privacy or security concerns as their main reason. Pictured is a stock image

    Another 15 per cent said it was budgetary reasons while 20 per cent nominated shops preferring plastic money to plastic cards.

    The RBA’s Consumer Payments Survey of 1,000 people, released on Friday, concluded the minority of consumers who preferred cash to electronic transactions were more like to be poor.

    ‘The use of cash for transactions has continued to fall alongside growing use of electronic payment methods,’ the report by Luc Delaney, Nina McClure and Richard Finlay said.

    ‘Despite this, a substantial number of consumers continue to use cash intensively.

    ‘These high cash users tend to have one or more of the following characteristics: they are more likely be older, live in regional areas, have lower household income, and/or have relatively poor internet access.’ 

    In November 2019, cash payments in person made up 32 per cent of transactions, down from 43 per cent in 2016. 

    Supermarkets and cafes are strongly discouraging their customers from paying by cash during the coronavirus pandemic. Pictured is a Harris Farm shop in Sydney discouraging the use of banknotes

    Supermarkets and cafes are strongly discouraging their customers from paying by cash during the coronavirus pandemic. Pictured is a Harris Farm shop in Sydney discouraging the use of banknotes

    The death of cash has been greatly exaggerated like Australia’s retail sector. 

    Unemployment at a glance in May 2020

    The jobless rate surged to 7.1 per cent in May – the highest since October 2001

    This occurred as 227,700 people lost their job or gave up looking for one  

    The ranks of the unemployed swelled to 927,600 – the highest number since December 1993

    Source: Australian Bureau of Statistics labour force data for May 

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    In May, turnover at shops soared by a record 16.3 per cent, as COVID-19 trading restrictions were eased, the Australian Bureau of Statistics revealed on Friday.

    The retail sales spike last month was double the 8.5 per cent surge in March when consumers panic bought toilet paper, pasta and rice in the weeks leading up to the coronavirus lockdowns.

    The following month, in April, retail sales plummeted by a record 17.7 per cent, as worries about an economic recession and rising unemployment took over.

    While retail sales records were set for three consecutive months, CommSec chief economist Craig James said the latest retail news was a sign of an economy returning to normal. 

    ‘Today’s data is a piece of really positive news for consumers and businesses alike,’ he said.

    ‘It says that the economy is getting back to normal. The data will especially be heartening for smaller retailers.’

    Nonetheless, Australia’s unemployment rate in May rose to 7.1 per cent, the highest since October 2001, as 227,700 people lost their job or gave up looking for one.

    Australia’s jobless rate for April was revised up from 6.2 per cent to 6.4 per cent, itself the highest level since October 2014.

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