Research suggests that despite the proliferation of banking and bill splitting apps, there is currently no match for cash when Aussies share a meal, or shout their mates a drink at the pub.
A Bankwest survey of Australia’s largest population hubs – NSW and VIC – found people’s ever- increasing obsession with technology was being refused entry to the country’s watering holes.
Respondents reported turning to apps for everything from weather forecasts (67.6%), music (64.9%) and food orders (44.9%), to Uber (43.1%), TV (37.0%) and booking appointments (36.4%).
But this number dropped when it came to splitting bills (14.5%), with around two thirds opting to pay in cash and only one in three preferring digital payment options.
But, as Bob Dylan famously mused, “The times, they are a-changin’”, with Gen Y the first generation to more likely opt for bank transfer (47.1%) over cash (44%) to split a meal.
The results show pubs and restaurants are holding out as bastions for the use of physical cash, despite young people believing Australia will be cash-free within a decade.
About half (49.5%) of those surveyed said they only carried cash sometimes, or for a specific reason, with the bill-splitting results suggesting a drink and a meal were among those occasions.
Bankwest EGM Customer Solutions & Insights Pieter Vorster said: “These results are illuminating, as they hint at the social circumstances in which people still find physical cash preferable.
“Digital solutions have made life more convenient in many cases, but it’s clear there are times when people prefer the simple – and, perhaps, less socially-disruptive – option of physical cash.
“In social situations, splitting a bill by handing over cash might be preferred, as it means you don’t have to stop conversation for account details, or to upskill a friend on digital options.
“It will be interesting to see if and how those trends change in the coming years, as new digital services are introduced, and technology becomes even more ubiquitous and second-nature.”