According to Google’s Consumer Barometer, Australia has one of the highest smartphones ownership rates in the world– 66%.
But it’s not just the volume of Aussies with smartphones that’s giving us clues to the future – it’s the way we’re using them.
In our Future of Money survey (2015), we gathered the usage data, opinions and predictions of 3,148 Australians across the country. One of the most significant findings was the usage and attitudes surrounding financial technologies and smartphones.
For starters, over half of all respondents (56.39%) said that when doing their online banking, paying bills, transferring money or shopping online, their smartphone is the device they use the most. More than half also said that their smartphone was always their first choice for these financial activities.
And smartphone usage won’t be slowing down – quite the opposite. Our data shows that 30% of Australians believe that within the next 18 months, smartphones will become the only device they use for their digital money and financial technology needs.
The obvious conclusion is that the 91% of Aussies who already use digital money and technology for banking and paying bills are increasingly making their smartphone their exclusive device of choice.
But that’s just online activities. What about at the point of sale?
Our research shows that already nearly one in five Australians (17%) use their smartphone to make payments in store, rather than using a debit or credit card. This choice is highest amongst men (22%) and in the 18-24 year old category (21%). Plus, those numbers are set to increase as fashionable and aspirational new players enter the market – Apple Pay is now available on the latest iPhones and, as more and more people tap their wrists against the NFC reader at the tills around the country, it’s likely to be one of the most conspicuous features on the new Apple Watch that launched recently.
We see the balance tipping even further in favour of smartphones due to the nature of the benefit most people enjoy deriving from it: In your pocket, anywhere, any time convenience. 71% of our Future of Money survey respondents cited 24/7 convenience as the best feature of digital money and financial technology. And that’s an area where the smartphone is unrivalled.
Around the country, people’s appetite for technological advances is only increasing. More than a third (36%) of the Aussies we asked said they’d change banks or financial providers for better digital money and financial technology services. For those who already use their mobile to pay for goods in store, that number is closer to half (49%).
What does this mean for the future?
Clearly, banks and financial providers are going to have to up the ante to keep their customers and attract new ones. At Fair Go Finance, we believe this means constantly looking for opportunities for evolution and innovation in our products and services.
The fact that 11% of our respondents said they’d use Facebook to transfer money to friends and family shows us that people are ready for new financial solutions. These innovations aren’t mere concepts either. The launch of SnapCash in the USA has shown how social and financial technologies can combine, and can enable peer-to-peer money transfers on a social network.
And just maybe that’ll be the final nail in the coffin for bank cards… …we already spend so much of our time on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram that, with those platforms starting to cater to our financial technology needs, we have to ask: Is the idea of carrying around plastic cards becoming as popular as carrying around a cheque book?