Digital wallets set to become the most popular contactless way to pay

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For anyone still writing cheques and avoiding paying by credit cards you have just jumped a generation past plastic as digital wallets are about to become the new norm for payments

Digital wallet transactions are card-less transactions using a smartphone or smartwatch that include CBA tap-and-pay, Google Pay, Samsung Pay, Apple Pay, Fitbit Pay, and Garmin Pay

And if you think you can avoid this new payment method, as you did with credit cards, be assured you will be wound up in a digital wallet sometime soon. Just one catch you will have to buy a mobile.

When shopping in-store, Aussies now choose digital wallets as their preferred way to pay compared to tapping a card, according to latest figures gleaned from from CBA customers.

Figures just released show a significant uptick in digital wallet usage over the last 12 months akin to a runaway train.

The figures highlight the growing popularity of digital wallets and the likelihood for them to become the most popular contactless way to pay in-store by the end of 2021, if current trends continue.

Between March 2020 and March 2021 the number of monthly digital wallet transactions increased 90%, with the number of transactions rising from 36 million to 68 million.

Over the same period, the total dollar value of digital wallet transactions more than doubled, with the value of monthly transactions rising to $2.1 billion, up from $1 billion.

This diagram shows how digital wallet transaction are trending as the number of individual digital wallet transactions each month rose from 36 million to 68 million between March 2020 and March 2021

These latest figures reinforce CBA’s previous analysis released in April 2020.

CBA’s Executive General Manager for Everyday Banking, Kate Crous, said: “We know customers continue to value the ease and security of digital wallets and over the last year we have seen Covid play a part in accelerating the trend.

“As more customers use digital wallets, they are also using more features in the CommBank app to monitor and manage their spending.”

Commonwealth Bank sees around 40% of total card and digital wallet transactions in Australia.

The bank’s figures also revealed that many Australians have started making higher value purchases via their digital wallets with the average dollar value of a digital wallet transaction increasing from $41 to $44 (credit) and $26 to $29 (debit) over the past 12 months.

“People mostly use digital wallets to pay for everyday expenses such as public transport, groceries, food and beverage, retail shopping and petrol.

The dollar value of total digital wallet transactions each month rose from $1.0 billion to $2.1 billion between March 2020 and March 2021 with more than 40% of combined debit and credit card contactless transaction count made via a digital wallet

“As customers are becoming more comfortable with paying this way, we have seen the average amount being spent using digital wallets continue to rise, both for credit and debit purchases on average, over the year.”

Ms Crous said based on the current trends it is likely that digital wallets will be the most popular contactless way to pay by the end of the year.

“Over the last couple of years we have seen a 10% increase in digitally active customers, up to 7.5 million. Given this increasing move towards digital, we expect the growth of digital payments to keep rising and expect by the end of this year, that every second contactless in-store payment will be made using a digital wallet.”

The rise in popularity of digital wallets among consumers is also improving the way businesses receive payments, as businesses increasingly benefit from the speed, convenience and security that digital wallet payments offer.

All figures in this article are based on CBA debit and credit card holders using their digital wallet to pay across all CBA and non-CBA payment terminals in Australia.

The figures do not include online/ecommerce wallets, such as PayPal or Beem It. Cash is not included in the analysis.