Smart phones introduce smarter payment options

When was the last time you paid in cash at the counter of your local shop?

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More likely you simply tapped your phone, watch or a card.

“No one foresaw a time where a portable device would be used to make and accept payments. It begs the question – what’s next for the future of payments technology?”

Australians love embracing new and convenient ways to pay (in fact, almost more than any other nation in the world), and it’s transforming the way financial services look after their needs.

As a nation, our in-person transactions made with cash halved to 16 per cent to 32 per cent over the three years to 2022, according to the Reserve Bank of Australia’s most recent Consumer Payments Survey (CPS).

As consumers make the shift to digital payments, it is now – more than ever – essential for businesses to embrace technology which can meet customer needs but also help manage their own cash flow.


The decline of traditional payment methods

In June 2023, the Federal Government published their report into the Strategic Plan for Australian Payments system, which emphasised the evolving nature of the payments landscape and the growth of digital payments – accelerated by the COVID-19 pandemic.

In the past 10 years there has been an almost 90 per cent decline in cheque usage[1] and cash usage also dropped to just 17 per cent of retail payments in 2022 [2]. This report proposed to end cheque usage by 2030, which several other countries have already successfully managed.

The message is clear – new ways of paying are emerging and gaining traction quickly and some payment forms we’ve known for years could disappear.

Digital Payments made seamless for businesses

As traditional methods decline, payments have naturally shifted to digital solutions. As consumers become accustomed to tapping their phones and watches, many can’t recall the last time they opened a traditional, physical wallet.

This means businesses now need to offer and accept multiple payment options and it’s critical the infrastructure required to support digital payments is easy to set-up and run.

One of the recent and most significant evolutions in digital payments has been the emergence of ‘tap to pay’ technology – which enables businesses to accept contactless payments on their smart devices without any additional hardware or terminal.

Just as consumers can use their smart devices to make payments, businesses can now use their smart devices to take payments simply by downloading an app.

This new technology is a game changer for small and large businesses alike.

For small businesses, the backbone of the Australian economy, it provides them with a flexible, pay-as-you-go solution to accepting contactless payments without the ongoing costs of terminal rental.

For larger businesses it has the potential to change the way they serve customers in-stores, removing frustrating and time-consuming queues. Or offering immediate payment-taking scale for bursts of activity without the complex logistics of obtaining more terminals, like at large scale events or for fundraising.

ANZ Worldline launches Worldline Tap on Mobile

Through our partnership with ANZ Worldline Payment Solutions, businesses can now access the Worldline Tap on Mobile payment app, enabling seamless and secure contactless payment acceptance technology.

Worldline Tap on Mobile accepts in-person contactless payments, including contactless credit and debit cards, Apple Pay and other digital wallets, using only a smart phone and the Worldline Tap on Mobile app. No additional hardware or payment terminals needed. Merchants can also process refunds and send receipts via SMS and QR code.

From today, Worldline Tap on Mobile is available from the Apple App Store on an iPhone XS or later running the latest version of iOS.

To access this capability, businesses can quickly apply online in 15 minutes for Worldline Tap on Mobile via the ANZ Worldline website and those with an ANZ business bank account will see their funds in their account at the end of each day.

One of our long-term employees who recently celebrated 35-years employment with ANZ, reflected on a time not so long ago when ATMs and the concept of cash dispensing from a ‘hole in the wall’ was a far-fetched pipedream.

Similarly, no one foresaw a time where a portable device would be used to make and accept payments. It begs the question – what’s next for the future of payments technology?

One thing we can be sure of is an acceleration of new payments (instant payments, e-money, mobile and digital wallets, account-to-account, QR code) compared with traditional methods.

Non-cash transaction volumes will experience annual double-digit growth from 2021-2026, according to a Capgemini report. This will help address liquidity and cashflow issues caused by factors such as rising costs, supply chain disruptions, unpaid invoices and payment delays.

Real-time cross-border payments are also expected to gain traction and deliver speed and liquidity benefits. Imagine an employee starting at ANZ today and the changes they’ll see in 35 years’ time.

We cannot fully predict the future of payments, but we know the pace of change will not slow and it’s incumbent for business owners to stay in touch with how customers transact and the benefits new payments technology can provide.

John Campbell is GM Transact and Save, Australia Commercial at ANZ


[1] RBA, Payments Data [C5.1 Cheques – Original Series] (2023) RBA website.

[2] RBA, RBA Bulletin (March 2023) Payments The Cash-use Cycle in Australia (2023) RBA website.

The views and opinions expressed in this communication are those of the author and may not necessarily state or reflect those of ANZ.

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