Home Strategy Economic benefits from move away from cash to card, claims VISA

Economic benefits from move away from cash to card, claims VISA

Sydney and Canberra stand to gain up to an additional $13.3 billion annually in total direct net benefits by further reducing reliance on cash, according to a new global report from card payment giant VISA.

According to VISA, of the 100 cities surveyed in its ‘Cashless Cities’ study — carried out by Roubini Thoughtlab — Sydney and Canberra are among only nine considered ‘Digital Leaders’ – a description the card company gives to the cities with populations that are nearly “fully banked, developed banking and digital payments systems, and high digital payments usage and readiness rates”.

For consumers across Sydney and Canberra, VISA says they could achieve nearly $851 million per year, in estimated direct net benefits from factors including time savings from direct banking, retail and transit transactions.

And globally, consumers stand to gain a full working day (eight hours) in time back per year on average in the move to digital payments, VISA says.

According to VISA, governments stand to benefit from various factors that include increased tax revenues, increased economic growth, and cost savings from efficiencies – and they also stand to benefit indirectly through greater employment and wage growth.

The study comes at a time when, according to VISA, contactless payments in Australia have reached a high, now representing 92% of VISA face-to-face transactions, up from just over 80% earlier this year.

Stephen Karpin, Group country manager for Visa in Australia, New Zealand and South Pacific, said: “Australia is leading the way in its move to digital payments, with Australian businesses, especially retailers, already benefiting from the operational efficiencies and additional customers that digital payments from international networks can bring”.  

Karpin cites an April 2017 report by RFi showing four in five (80%) retailers in Australia see contactless payments as benefiting their business, with 68% citing the speed of service as the key benefit, followed by a reduction in cash handling (50%), and increased sales (41%).

Consumers are also benefitting from the move to digital payments, VISA says, and for the first time the study shows the time consumers can save.

“For example, globally consumers could save more than a full working day of time per year on average, just by changing the way they pay,” VISA notes.

“Consumers want to transparently track and control their finances, be secure in every transaction both here or overseas, and have the payment convenience to suit their lifestyles, whether this be via card, mobile, wearable or e-commerce,” says Karpin.

“While many businesses and consumers are already feeling these benefits, the study shows Australia could go further to realise the positive impacts of digital payments, with continued collaboration needed to drive the economy forward.

“VISA is committed to working alongside financial institutions, retailers, governments and the country’s thriving start-up community to ensure Australia maintains its position as a digital leader.  This requires incentivising innovation at all levels.”


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Peter Dinham

Peter Dinham is a co-founder of iTWire and a 35-year veteran journalist and corporate communications consultant. He has worked as a journalist in all forms of media – newspapers/magazines, radio, television, press agency and now, online – including with the Canberra Times, The Examiner (Tasmania), the ABC and AAP-Reuters. As a freelance journalist he also had articles published in Australian and overseas magazines. He worked in the corporate communications/public relations sector, in-house with an airline, and as a senior executive in Australia of the world’s largest communications consultancy, Burson-Marsteller. He also ran his own communications consultancy and was a co-founder in Australia of the global photographic agency, the Image Bank (now Getty Images).