COVID-19 Ushers in Digital Shift for Banking & Payments Amongst Australians

December 14, 2020 | SYDNEY
  • Mastercard’s first-ever global State of Pay report reveals that over one third (35%) of Australians claim they are using banking apps more than they were before the pandemic
  • In a sign of widening adoption, half (48%) of Australians say they are now using their mobile phones to make payments
  • The research carried out as part of Mastercard’s State of Pay report – across 14 different countries – also found that people are moving away from cash, with 51% of Australians saying they’ll use physical money less after COVID-19

COVID-19 has pushed vast swathes of Australians and people around the world into becoming more digitally savvy when it comes to banking and apps, according to Mastercard’s inaugural global State of Pay report.

The lockdowns imposed across the globe have made getting to bank branches much harder for everyone, prompting a sharp surge in online activity and mass adoption of banking apps that allow people to keep firmly in control of their finances.

The in-depth research – conducted with more than 14,000 people in 14 different countries, including Australia – has revealed that 35% of Australians claim they are now using banking apps more than before the pandemic.

In a sign of widening acceptance, 87% of people globally who have not used banking apps prior to COVID-19 agree that they will continue to use them after the pandemic. 84% globally say that using these apps was easier than they thought it would be, while 66% of all survey participants are encouraged to explore other forms of digital payments as a result of the experience.

The COVID-19 pandemic is also driving the use of contactless payments as people increasingly seek out ways to quickly get in and out of stores without touching terminals. In Q1 2020, Mastercard recorded 40% growth in contactless transactions globally, with 80% of these transactions under AU$35, a range typically dominated by cash.

The State of Pay report also found that:

  • 48% of Australian’s say they are currently using their mobile phone to make payments either by using an app (including mobile banking) or another functionality
  • 43% say they use digital wallets when paying for items via mobile phone
  • 50% report using in-app payments (e.g., a store app)
  • 12% say they use QR codes to make payments
  • 46% report paying in a mobile phone browser via a card payment

“The COVID-19 pandemic has rapidly accelerated the use of the latest digital technologies and fueled the evolution of new payment forms in Australia,” said Richard Wormald, Division President, Mastercard Australasia“The rate of adoption Mastercard has experienced in 2020 has been faster than ever imagined and it’s clear the trend is here to stay. Non-digital based payment methods are becoming less dominant, with even the most reluctant consumers and businesses in Australia trying digital banking and payment technologies for the first time.”

The report has also identified a rise in other forms of digital payments, with 70% of people globally now using their mobile phone to make payments. There has also been an increase in QR code payments, with adoption being driven by young people. In China, for example, 96% of 18-25-year-olds use QR code payments.

A major contributing factor has been the decline in cash, with 60% of people globally now believing contactless payments to be safer than physical money, and 53% saying that cash is less convenient than other payment methods. Many believe that COVID-19 has prompted a move away from cash, with 51% of Australians and 64% globally agreeing they will use cash less in the future as a result of the pandemic.

Mastercard’s multi rail framework enables people and organizations to send and receive money how, where and when they choose, across both card and real-time payments rails. As a global payment technology leader, Mastercard has a history of developing pathbreaking solutions that make payments safe, simple, smart and accessible — for everyone.

To read the State of Pay report in full visit:




Notes to editors:

Methodology: Populus, on behalf of Mastercard, surveyed 1,000 consumers and 200 SMEs in Australia. Globally, over 14,000 participants took place in the research across 14 markets (Brazil, Peru, Australia, Thailand, Philippines, India, US, Canada, South Africa, UK, China, Poland, Italy and Spain) between 24.07.2020 until 11.08.2020.

Media Contacts

Luke McClelland, Mastercard
+61 417 761 139 |
Caelyn Evans, Agency (Eleven)
+61 406 976 055 |