A recent survey conducted by personal finance company Fair Go Finance has found that a large chunk of Australians are ready to leave the traditional banking system and move to digital money. The survey received responses from 3,148 people, and the questions involved everything from bitcoin to Facebook money transfers.
The online survey was conducted in April 2015.
34% know about bitcoin
Thirty-four percent of Australians who responded to the survey claimed they know something about bitcoin. Of course, the level of understanding of bitcoin is likely to vary from person to person. The question was phrased as, “Do you know anything about Bitcoins?” which means many respondents who had simply heard of bitcoin as some sort of PayPal alternative would have likely responded in the affirmative. Some of these respondents may have trouble attempting to explain the complexities of the blockchain.
There was a bit of divergence in the responses from men and women in this initial question about bitcoin. While 43 percent of male respondents claimed to know about bitcoin, only 28 perecent of women did. There was less of a divergence in the responses from Generation X and Y. In fact, the numbers from those age groups were practically identical.
Among the Australian population, 51 percent of respondents claimed they do their digital money research on their own. Twenty-six percent said they get their information from friends and family, and 13 percent said they learn about digital money from their current bank or finance provider. Only 2 percent of respondents claimed they are not interested in digital money or financial technology.
It’s all about convenience
When it comes to the reasons behind Australia’s thirst for digital money, convenience is king. Seventy percent of respondents claimed that convenience and the ability to use digital money 24/7 are the best features of the financial technology. Twelve percent of respondents find digital money to be safer than carrying cash, while 15 percent claimed it helps them be more in control of their finances. Two percent of respondents find digital money to be too risky.
Although this survey was about more than bitcoin, it should be noted that the digital commodity still has plenty of work to do in the convenience department. Price volatility and an inability for the average person to understand the technology are still key barriers to mainstream adoption.
Australia’s desire for convenience was also seen in a question related to how digital money is used in the real world. Forty-eight percent of respondents said they would like to replace PIN codes with biometrics by 2020. Only 18 percent claim they would not use biometrics, with the rest undecided.
36% want digital money, but not from Facebook
Perhaps the most interesting finding is that 36 percent of respondents claimed that they would change banks for better digital money services. Thirty-five percent claimed they would not change banks in order to access better financial technology, while 29 percent were unsure.
Although Australians are ready to gain access to better digital money services, it appears that transferring money via Facebook is not in the cards for most. Sixty-nine percent of respondents say they would not use the social media platform to send money to family and friends, and only 11 percent seem ready to use Facebook for payments right now.