The rise of tap-and-go and non-cash payments is good news for retailers’ bottom line, new research says.

Australian shoppers are increasingly opting to pay by tap-and-go and leaving cash behind, with 81 per cent of Australians saying they prefer to pay by card and one in three being card-only shoppers, according to new research from payments company Square.

The study, which surveyed businesses and shoppers across Australia, has revealed that accepting cash is having big impacts on small and medium sized businesses’ (SMBs) bottom line.

SMBs spend an average of almost 29 working days each year counting and banking cash – an annual cost of $8.7 billion in wages for the sector, the research says.

But not only are cash payments costing business, they’re also slowly being phased out with 77 per cent of Australians saying that they are carrying less cash today than in the past and 2.3 million not remembering the last time they withdrew cash.

Three quarters of Australians also said that cash-only businesses are old-fashioned and out of touch with consumers, the research says.

Sydney café leads emerging cashless market

The founders of Fish Bowl, Nic Pestalozzi and Nathan Dalah.

Fish Bowl, a buzzing Sydney café chain specialising in niche salads is one of a number of retailers that are opting to go cashless in line with an emerging trend in the sector.

Nathan Dalah, co-founder of Fish Bowl says that the news follows a growing trend towards digital payments that he has seen emerging for the past few years.

“We felt there was a general shift away from cash and towards card. We knew very few people were paying with cash anymore.”

Phasing out cash was a no-brainer for Mr Dalah, who says that there are big cost and time savings in making the switch.

“There are big savings. Whether it’s in the time it takes to use car, go to the bank, deposit money or the time it takes to count up the till. We realised big time savings and found that the benefit of these time savings was greater than the costs of merchant fees.”

And for the customers that pull out their wallets to pay cash, the news doesn’t phase them too much, Mr Dalah says.

For the most part people that pull out a note are more than fine when we tell them that it’s card-only.”

With a growing consumer demand for cashless payment methods, increasingly, retailers are going to have to look to phasing out cash, Mr Dalah says.

“From a practical standpoint the phasing out of cash may happen. But I do think that it will stick around longer than it probably should. ”