The shifting world of digital payments: Are we ready to go cashless?

- November 4, 2022 2 MIN READ

With digital wallets and other forms of cashless payment now commonplace in Australia, it’s time for all small businesses to get serious about offering digital forms of payment, or risk getting left behind, writes Elise Balsillie, Head of Thryv Australia.

Did you know that Australia is fast on its way to becoming an almost cashless society? We’re currently the sixth-most cashless society in the world, according to the Commonwealth Bank of Australia.

Upon reading the latest Global Payments Report that was released earlier this year, it wasn’t surprising to learn that digital wallets are predicted to be the leading form of payment in our country as early as 2024.

Digital payments here to stay

Digital wallets are just one form of cashless payment that Australians have enthusiastically taken to using on a day-to-day basis, particularly after the encouragement to go contactless wherever possible amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. Credit/debit cards, bank transfers and even payment apps also fall into the digital payments category.

Anyone reading this article has likely used one of the above in the last week alone, with the choice boiling down to personal preference.

Our own research on this very topic found that younger generations are leading the charge on this change. Specifically, up to 80 per cent of the Millennials and Gen Z participants that were surveyed indicated they will continue using digital payments over cash in the future.

But regardless of age, those who adopt cashless payments and like them rarely go back to using traditional methods of payment.

Don’t get left behind

It’s clear the needle has well and truly shifted, and it’s imperative for small businesses to be prepared once this movement is in full swing (which is predicted to be only two years in the future). The impact of not offering customers a digital/cashless payment option can be detrimental to the growth and, ultimately, the success of any small business.

It is now an expectation that bills can be settled with a digital payment option. Most feel safer and generally find it easier to pay digitally, to the point where small businesses risk losing a sale if consumers are limited to using traditional payment methods (especially if their competitors offer digital options).

So, how do you prepare to handle the multiple ways that consumers like to pay? Ensure you’re partnering with a platform that provides a variety of industry-leading payment options. Be mindful of their charges and extra costs for particular types of payments (including the phone or card-not-present kind).

The benefits of this are endless. It’ll safeguard your business against unforeseen fees and future trends, as well as offer a competitive advantage in the form of a positive consumer experience.

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