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Cash Is Sooo 20th Century

By Oonagh Reidy | Tuesday | 01/10/2013

Bitcoin-for-beers, digital wallets - Oz is "almost cashless", a new report shows.

The Old Fitzroy Hotel located in the plush suburb of Woolloomooloo - home to Russell Crowe when he's in town - has started trading booze for bitcoins since Tuesday, last.

The digital currency can be used not only to purchase beers but "anything at the bar", according to an Reddit announcement.

The Fitzroy, one of Austalia's oldest bars, is the first pub in Australia to accept the bitcoin.

However, it hasn't ditched cash altogether - punters can still enjoy a schooner using good old cash.

Bitcoin trading is going well so far, but a "minimum amount of people have it", a employee at the Old Fitzroy told CN.

The Internet currency works via QR codes which is activated via a mobile app.

But the Fizroy is following an Aussie trend, as new research shows we are now 'nearly cashless', and a global leader in non-cash payments - along with Belgium, France, Canada, Germany and Sweden

- Page Break -

According to MasterCard's "The Cashless Journey" report, cash in local circulation has been shrinking for many years, with further fall expected, thanks to technology like EFTPOS, PayPass and now, digital wallets.

Cash accounts for under 15% of consumer payments down under - far ahead of global economies China (45%) and the US (20%).

Egypt is the most cash dependent economy, according to the study.

One reason for Australia's advanced position in payments is its financial inclusion, with 99 per cent of Australians over 15 years of age possessing bank accounts.

MasterCard Australasia Division President, Eddie Grobler says: "Australian consumers are savvy as they know that cashless payments are more convenient and safer than withdrawing and carrying cash, the numbers speak for themselves."

"We're in an exciting position where a cashless future is a genuine possibility for Australia."

"Through the advancement of contactless payment options like PayPass and digital wallet technology, we're getting ever closer to realising it."

However, Aussies still use cash for smaller transactions like buying a paper or coffee, the report shows.

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