Media Releases

  • The Digital Economy

    Cards payments are more popular than ever, with nearly 23 million transactions made each day. 


    18 June 2017 

    Shift to digital economy in Australia accelerating

    The latest Digital Economy report released today by Australian Payments Network (AusPayNet), the payments industry self-regulatory body, shows Australia’s shift to a digital economy is accelerating, with digital payments increasing rapidly while cash and cheques decline. 

    The AusPayNet report reveals that card payments are more popular than ever, with consumers making over 8.3 billion card payments in 2017, equating to almost 23 million transactions each day. Almost 7 in 10 of these card payments were made with a debit card, and debit card payments grew 15.3% to 5.6 billion in 2017, up 87% since 2012.

    The growing consumer preference for digital payments is reflected in the rapid decline in cheque use and ATM withdrawals, which together accounted for fewer than two million transactions a day in 2017. The AusPayNet report shows that in 2017 there was a: 

    • 19.7% decline in cheques written, down to 89.7 million 
    • 5.9% decline in ATM withdrawals, down to 610.1 million. 

    Commenting on the report, AusPayNet CEO Dr Leila Fourie said: “The continued shift to digital payments is not surprising given how connected and mobile our society is. Almost 9 in every 10 Australians own a smartphone, and more than 3 in every 5 use them to make payments. This is driving uptake in digital payments and laying down a powerful base for the next wave of payments innovation.”

    Examples of payments innovation include mobile apps providing a more seamless payment experience and the recent introduction of the New Payments Platform (NPP), which allows customers to make easier and faster payments using a mobile phone number or an email address rather than BSB and account number.

    The Digital Economy report shows consumers are embracing e-commerce, with 72% purchasing online in 2016-17, up from 61% two years earlier. The value of online spending continues to grow and in 2016-17 was up 15.1% on the previous year. The uptake of wearables is growing steadily, with smartwatch penetration reaching 9% in 2017, up from 5% in 2016.

    AusPayNet’s report revealed that Australia’s migration to digital payments is enabled by a high penetration of point-of-sale terminals and a low number of ATMs relative to many overseas countries.

    The report provides updates on industry and government initiatives to support the transition to the digital economy including open-loop transit (metro transport cards that are account-based and compatible across networks in different cities), open banking and the consumer data rights.

    The Digital Economy report and accompanying infographic are available here.


    Contact:  Nicholas Owens, Sefiani Communications Group, on behalf of Australian Payments Network: +61 421 977 062,  

    Level 23, Tower 3, International Towers Sydney, 300 Barangaroo Avenue, Sydney, NSW 2000 | | 

  • Towards a Digital Economy

    "The vast majority of us are moving away from cash and cheques faster than ever before."


    26 May 2017 

    Cheque use plunges as Australians choose digital payments


    The Milestones Reportreleased today by the payments industry self-regulatory body Australian Payments Network (previously Australian Payments Clearing Association), shows that the decline in cheque and cash use continues to accelerate as Australians embrace digital payments.

    Today’s report shows that cheque use plunged 20% to 111.6 million - the largest drop ever recorded. The value of cheques dropped by 6% over the same period, after remaining flat in 2015 and dropping by less than 1% in 2014. Over the last five years, cheque use has dropped 56%.

    Australia’s digital economy underpins what can increasingly be characterised as a less-cash society. The number of ATM withdrawals dropped 7.5% to 648.5 million in 2016 following a 5.5% drop in 2015 and a 4.7% drop in 2014. Since 2011, ATM withdrawals have dropped by 22%.

    CEO of the Australian Payments Network, Dr Leila Fourie said “Looking at the payment choices that Australians make, it’s clear that the vast majority of us are moving away from cash and cheques faster than ever before. This is happening because of widespread use of new technology combined with a strong preference for faster and more convenient payment options.”

    Consumers’ preference for digital payments is reflected in the strong year-on-year growth in card and direct entry transactions:

    • Australians used their cards 12.3% more in 2016, making 7.4 billion transactions.

    • Direct entry transactions (direct debit and direct credit) increased by 8.6% to 3.5 billion.

    Over the last five years, card transactions grew by 72% and direct entry by 36%.

    Increased smartphone penetration, which reached 84% in 2016, up from 76% in 2014, is an important contributing factor.

    Australia’s online retail spend was estimated at $21.6 billion in 2016 and encouragingly from a digital inclusion perspective, this spend is not restricted to digital natives. Older Australians are using online shopping platforms more, with domestic online spending growing by 8.7% for those in the 55-64 age group, and 7.5% for 65+.

    The Report also tracks progress on initiatives supporting Australia’s transition to the digital economy including the industry’s New Payments Platform and Australian Payments Plan.

    The Milestones Report and accompanying infographic are available here.



    Australian Payments Network releases regular Milestones Reports to review progress against the action plan it published in May 2012. See “The Decline of Cheques: Building a Bridge to the Digital Economy”

    Media Contact: Ida Turner, Australian Payments Network Communications Mob: +61 409 716 556

    Australian Payments Network Limited. ABN 12 055 136 519
    Level 23, Tower 3, International Towers Sydney, 300 Barangaroo Ave, Sydney NSW 2000. Telephone +61 2 9216 4888