Last call for cash in Aussie pubs

08 July 2019

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.”

Survey findings

Tasks for which an app or Smart Home Device is typically used
   Gen Y (%) Gen X (%) Baby Boomers (%) Overall (%)
Weather 71.0 62.6 66.2 67.6
Music 79.9 57.1 44.6 64.9
Banking 65.3 51.2 42.3 55.7
Ordering take-away 59.3 39.0 23.5 44.9
Ordering an Uber 60.0 31.5 22.7 43.1
Splitting bills 24.6 7.1 2.7 14.5
If you’re out for drinks with a group of people, which of the following are you most likely to do
   Gen Y (%) Gen X (%) Baby Boomers (%) Overall (%)
Buy a drink for myself and let everyone sort themselves 41.3 39.5 39.9 40.5
Buy a round of drinks for everyone and cover the bill myself 38.0 48.4 45.1 42.3
Buy a round of drinks for everyone and split the bill between us 20.7 12.1 15.0 17.1
How would you most likely split the bill?
   Gen Y (%) Gen X (%) Baby Boomers (%) Overall (%)
Using an app 13.0 7.4 0.0 9.3
Bank transfer to account 31.5 3.7 6.3 21.2
Each person puts in cash 50.0 88.9 90.6 65.6
Other 5.4 0.0 3.1 4.0
If you're out for dinner with a group of people, which of the following are you most likely to do?
   Gen Y (%) Gen X (%) Baby Boomers (%) Overall (%)
Pay individually and for only what I ordered 33.3 32.3 20.8 29.8
Pay together, but put in the correct amount for what I ordered 38.0 31.5 30.8 34.5
Pay together and split the bill evenly between us, regardless of what people ordered 28.7 36.2 48.5 35.8
How would you most likely split the bill?
   Gen Y (%) Gen X (%) Baby Boomers (%) Overall (%)
Using an app
7.4 1.7 1.5 4.3
Bank transfer to account
47.1 14.0 4.9 26.6
Each person puts in cash
44.0 81.4 87.9 66.0
1.5 2.9 5.8 3.1
What is your attitude towards carrying cash?
   Gen Y (%) Gen X (%) Baby Boomers (%) Overall (%)
I always carry cash in my wallet/purse
30.2 53.5 68.1 46.0
I sometimes carry cash in my wallet/purse
35.3 30.7 22.7 30.9
I only carry cash in my wallet/purse if I need it for a specific reason
26.9 13.8 7.7 18.6
I never carry cash in my wallet/purse
7.6 2.0 1.5 4.6
About Bankwest
Bankwest provides personal and business banking solutions for more than 1.1 million retail and business customers across Australia. Bankwest customers enjoy access to an extensive network of stores and business centres, direct and third party distribution channels, agencies and electronic banking facilities, as well as 24-hour telephone and internet banking. Bankwest is a division of the Commonwealth Bank of Australia.

About the report
This data contained in this release was captured as part of a wider survey conducted by Bankwest. Research was carried out by CoreData via an online survey of Victoria and New South Wales residents. The survey was designed, with input and approval from Bankwest, prior to fieldwork commencing. All fieldwork was conducted from 5-11 February 2019. CoreData was responsible for distributing and hosting the survey, which was sent to Victorian and New South Wales residents between the age of 18 and 70. A total of 1,001 responses were completed.

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