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Australians At The Forefront Of Digital And Social Money

Australians are banking on their smartphones and plan to ditch their debit and credit cards for their mobile device within 18 months, according to a recent Australia-based Fair Go Finance survey, conducted between March 30-April 15, 2015. And around 11 percent said they would use Facebook to transfer money to friends and family.

Paul Walshe, Managing Director of Fair Go Finance, said the mobile wallet is a reality for many Australians. “Around 80 percent of Australians own a smartphone, so it’s understandable we’re turning to our mobile for our financial needs,” he said. “Credit and debit cards will soon become superfluous and I wouldn’t be surprised if ATMs are phased out in future too, similar to what happened to the public phone.”

From the 3,148 people surveyed, 30 percent plan to use their smartphone for all their digital money and financial tech needs by 2017. Thirty-seven percent even said that they would use it for a majority of their needs.

On the whole, Australians use digital payment technology to bank and pay bills (91 percent), but 17 percent are now also using smartphones to make payments in-store instead of using a debit or credit card. This is the highest among men (22 percent vs. 15 percent) and 18-24 year olds (21 percent).

This is a bit better than in the U.S. where, according to a study published by market research and consulting firm Chadwick Martin Bailey (CMB), 15 percent of the respondents have used a mobile wallet in the past six months. An additional 22 percent however say that they are likely to use it in the coming six months.

Another study conducted by Visa Europe between April and May 2015 in Finland, France, Germany, Poland, Spain and the U.K. revealed that smart devices will replace cash and card transactions as the U.K. mobile payments market is set to reach £1.2 billion a week by 2020.

“The fact that new payment options like Apple Pay are now available and telcos such as Optus have launched a mobile payment app, all points to a mobile future. While some customers remain cautious of using financial technology due to the fear of hacking, the uptake of mobile payments will really take off once they understand how to embrace it safely,” Walshe explained.

In fact, today, there are more than 2 million ATMs worldwide, with the number expected to reach 3 million by 2016. Yet the innovation’s use as a cash-retrieval system is on the decline. This is partly because ease of access is increasingly important to consumers. Thirty-six percent of Australians would change banks for better digital money and financial technology services. Forty-nine percent already use their smartphones to pay for goods instead of using debit or credit card, according to the study.

“Traditional financial providers need to up the ante if they are going to retain their customers since people aren’t afraid to vote with their feet if their technological needs aren’t being met. We are constantly looking at ways we can evolve our services,” said Walshe.

“Disruption in the financial services will only continue with peer to peer lending and payments via social media the next frontier. The launch of SnapCash in the United States is just one example of how social media can be used financially by consumers,” he continued. “We already conduct so much of our lives on the likes of Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, the next logical step is financial. ”

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