COVID causes surge in WA digital wallet adoption

24 August 2020

West Australians are turning to digital payments at an unprecedented rate, with transactions across the pandemic months more than doubling year-on-year, despite periods of restrictions.

Payments made through smart devices, such as phones and watches, now account for 16.5 per cent of WA contactless payments – up from 13.5 per cent in February, prior to the pandemic.

The volume of West Australian digital wallet transactions has also surged during COVID-19, with the total from 23 March (full lockdown) to 19 July more than doubling (129%) year-on-year.

The value of those transactions also rose sharply, lifting 178 per cent year-on-year, while average digital wallet spend revealed West Australians’ growing comfort levels with the technology.

WA customers’ average digital wallet spend increased by just $1.34 to $28.74 in the 12 months from February 2019 to 2020, yet this year has soared $5.17 to $33.91 in the five months to July.

Bankwest’s national active users of Apple and Android Pay almost doubled (90.7%) in the previous financial year, as usage boomed in response to COVID-19 preventative measures.

Bankwest General Manager of Everyday Banking Louise Tovey said: “Our number one priority continues to be the wellbeing of our customers, colleagues and the community at this time.

“The global pandemic continues to challenge us all in unprecedented ways and these figures show how many Australians have adapted how they transact in response to these challenges.

“Smart devices are playing a greater role in our active lifestyles, so we’ve recently added Samsung, Fitbit and Garmin Pay to meet the rise in customer demand for digital wallet options.

“The surge in uptake of digital wallets and rapidly growing preference for contactless payments suggests that COVID has swiftly accelerated a trend that was already steadily on the rise.

“Minimising unnecessary contact is a critical step in limiting the potential spread of the virus and it’s clear people are increasingly comfortable with using their smart devices to help with that.”

Bankwest digital wallet analysis

   Pre-COVID (1-29 Feb) % Phase 4 (27 Jun - 19 Jul) %
WA digital wallet
transactions as a
% of contactless
13.56 16.45
   % growth COVID Full
Restrictions (23 Mar) to
Phase 4 (19 Jul)
% growth year-on-year
(23 Mar-19 Jul)

Volume of WA digital
wallet transactions
18 129
Volume of WA digital
wallet transactions
19 178
   Feb 2019 ($) Feb 2020 ($) Jul 2020 ($)
WA average digital wallet
transaction value
27.40 28.74
(+$1.34 in 12mth)
(+$5.17 in 5mth)
About Bankwest
Bankwest’s vision is to deliver brilliant customer experiences every day and our purpose is to improve the financial wellbeing of our customers and communities. Bankwest provides personal and business banking solutions for more than 1.1 million customers across Australia. Our customers enjoy access to an extensive network of branches and business centres, direct and third-party distribution channels, agencies and electronic banking facilities, as well as 24-hour banking on the telephone, internet and the Bankwest App. Bankwest, a division of Commonwealth Bank of Australia ABN 48 123 123 124 AFSL/Australian credit license 234945.

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