Cash is the most common form of payment in Australia. Usually cash payments are less than $50 and cash is almost exclusively used in transactions of less than $10.

The popularity of cash is evident in the number of ATM withdrawals and "cash-out" transactions, which total an average of over 2 million withdrawals each day.

Coin in Australia is produced by the Royal Australian Mint in 5c, 10c, 20c, 50c, $1 and $2 denominations. The Reserve Bank of Australia has sole responsibility for issuing notes which are printed by a wholly owned subsidiary of the Bank. The Reserve Bank issues notes in $5, $10, $20, $50 and $100 denominations. Since 1996, all notes in circulation in Australia are made from flexible polymer plastic, which enhances durability and makes counterfeiting much more difficult.

Financial institutions have long had responsibility for supplying cash to the community. While some financial institutions obtain their cash requirements "commercially", usually from armoured carrier companies, five Australian banks own and manage their own cash reserves and make them available to everyone else. Together, and working closely with the Reserve Bank and the Royal Australian Mint, these banks largely supply Australians with the notes and coins they needed to carry out daily economic activity.

APCA's Australian Cash Distribution and Exchange System (ACDES) provides a safe and efficient set of rules for the exchange and distribution of bulk cash between the five banks that supply cash.

About Notes

  • The world's first plastic bank notes were invented in Australia in 1988.
  • Australia is the first country to fully convert to polymer notes in 1996.
  • Australia prints polymer notes for other countries.