Fewer Australians are paying with cash than ever before with cash now accounting for just 27% of all payments.

Fewer Australians are paying with cash than ever before. The digital economy is creating a less-cash society, with cash now accounting for under 27% of all consumer payments.
But Australians continue to use cash for a variety of reasons. In this context, the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) has introducing new banknotes with tighter security features, a tactile feature to help the vision impaired and a world first design.
We set up the Next Generation Banknote Support Project in September 2015 to monitor the industry’s readiness and ensure minimal disruption as each banknote denomination is issued into circulation. The RBA issued the first banknote in the new series on 1 September 2016, with all denominations now in circulation - $5, $10, $20, $50 and $100. The new $100 banknote was issued on 29 October 2020.
The Reserve Bank of Australia has sole responsibility for issuing notes which are printed by a wholly owned subsidiary of the Bank.
Through the Australian Cash Distribution and Exchange System (ACDES), we manage the exchange and distribution of bulk cash between the four banks that supply cash to the community.

We manage the exchange and distribution of bulk cash between the four banks that supply cash to the Australian community.

The ACDES rules cover the buying, selling and packaging of notes and coins, audit requirements and cash movements. The four ACDES banks are: Australia and New Zealand Banking Group, Commonwealth Bank of Australia, National Australia Bank, and Westpac Banking Corporation.
These major banks own and manage their own cash reserves and make cash available to the rest of the community. Together, and working closely with the RBA and the Royal Australian Mint, they supply the notes and coins needed for Australia’s daily economic activity.
The decline of cash
We are monitoring the decline in cash use as Australia’s digital economy creates a less-cash society. In the 2020 financial year, the number of ATM withdrawals dropped to 470 million, 30% less than in 2016. The Reserve Bank’s 2019 Consumer Payments Survey shows that cash accounts for 27% of consumer payments, down from 69% in 2007. Debit cards are now the most commonly used payment method.
We will be supporting the Australian Payments Council’s future work on a strategy for our less-cash society. This work will ensure that the decline of cash use is managed efficiently as Australians continue to choose digital payments.
AusPayNet has also developed guidelines for the handling of cash discrepancies amongst the major banks. The procedures outline how to identify a cash discrepancy, the steps required for settlement and the timeframe for resolution. Financial institutions are encouraged to adopt these procedures in their dealings with the ACDES banks.

Related Content

View regulations, procedures and other resources relating to cash.