According to new research from NAB, the average Australian still carries about $76 in cash over a period of a week.
Men carry about $84 on average, and women carry $68. Men over the age of 50 carry the most at an average of $99, and women between 18-29 carry the least, at an average of $54.
The data suggests earning capacity doesn’t influence how much cash Australians carry.
“People on incomes under $35,000 a year carry the least, but still around $70. Those on higher incomes above $100,000 carried $76. And, Australians earning between $75,000-100,000 a year carried $86, the most of any income group,” said NAB head of behavioural and industry economics Dean Peterson.
The use of cash is ultimately declining, but NAB’s research suggests cash’s “lure remains strong”.
About three in five respondents said they would choose a cash payment if they were to receive a $1,000 payment.
“Despite young people using cash differently and less often than older Australians, one in two people aged between 18 and 29 still wanted the cash,” said Mr Pearson.
Mostly, Australians carry cash for small transactions and emergencies, according to NAB. Respondents also said they carry cash for speed, convenience and habit.
Carrying cash because some merchants will only accept cash payments is also common. Further, there’s a relationship between when cash is used, and how much a transaction is.
“When spending less than $5, around three in four of us still use cash but this falls to about one in 20 for purchases over $500. When using credit cards, the reverse is true. Only around one in 20 use credit cards for purchases of less than $5, while around one in two when spending over $500,” said Mr Pearson.
Regulators like the ATO are cracking down on the cash economy, through their work with what is known as the Black Economy Taskforce.
The taskforce made a range of recommendations to the federal government last year, including reforming the Australian Business Number (ABN) regime and tightening reporting obligations for operators dealing in cash payments.
You can read the full list of recommendations here.