By Roxanne Costello, Banktech

A few decades ago cash and paper payments, such as cheques, were the only real options for Australian consumers and businesses.

Today, Australians enjoy a multitude of payment options. At the point of sale, we can use our credit or debit cards, or mobile phone.

A few decades ago, access to cash depended on getting to a bank branch during business hours.  Today, people have access to ATMs and EFTPOS devices to access their cash.

A few decades ago our salaries and wages were paid by cash or cheque.  Today, most Australians have their wages and salaries regularly deposited into their accounts.

And today, we have access to new payment methods undreamt of only a few decades ago – such as online payments, contactless cards and mobile payments.

Many of us take for granted that the payments system “just works”.  Below is more information about the various payment methods and how they operate in Australia


Payment cards are the most common non-cash payment method used by Australian consumers today. Cards are used for in-store purchases, withdrawals at ATMs, and for purchases over the phone and over the internet.

There are some 55 million credit and debit cards on issue in Australia. On average, 19 million transactions are made at Australia’s ATMs and in-store terminals each day.


Debit cards are a convenient and safe way to access funds in deposit accounts. When you use a debit card, you are using your own money. The money is deducted from your account at the time you withdraw funds from an ATM, pay for purchases or make any other payments.


All Australian issued credit and debit cards can be used at any ATM and EFTPOS terminal in Australia. All ATM and EFTPOS transactions require a PIN for verification. Currently, there are more than 30,000 ATMs and 850,000 EFTPOS terminals in Australia.

Most of Australia’s EFTPOS terminals have been upgraded to accept EMV chip-based credit cards. When using a chip card at these terminals, you will be asked to dip the card in the terminal, rather than swipe. Chip technology enables enhanced functionality and added protection against card fraud.

Contactless technology is also becoming increasing prevalent at certain retailers in Australia. Typically used to pay for small purchases, you simply tap your credit or debit card against the contactless reader at the checkout, and no further verification (PIN) is required.


Australians make more than 7 billion transactions a year using cards and cheques, at a variety of locations including retail outlets, ATMs, online, over-the-counter and person to person.  These payments are vital to the smooth running of the economy. However, fraud does play a part in any payments system, and the industry is committed to ensuring it is kept to a very low level.

The industry uses a series of measures to keep fraud low, including strict security standards on payments terminals and ATMs, strong encryption for your PIN and card data, the increasing use of chip cards to make counterfeiting much harder and using other techniques such as an SMS to confirm your transaction is genuine.

Should fraud occur, sophisticated fraud identification systems that detect anomalies in transaction patterns and to take appropriate action to validate or reject a payment, allow financial institutions to keep losses relatively low.


There are things that you can and should do as well to protect against fraud.

As an account holder, you should always keep a close eye on your account – check your statements, check that the transactions listed are genuine, and advise your financial institution immediately if you see anything suspicious.

Remember, if you are a victim of payments fraud, the ePayments Code of Conduct means that you will not be left out of pocket where you have not contributed to the loss.


If you want to know more about how Banktech can help your business, please call Roxanne Costello on 83024000.