Australians are four times more likely to use mobile phones for payments and banking services today than in 2010, according to new figures published by the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA).
According to ACMA, 3.4 million Australians used an mobile commerce service in December last year to conduct banking or to pay bills, buy goods and services with their phones. Only 620,000 transactions were recorded in 2010.
As a result, the total volume of Australian purchases made via mobile devices jumped 30 percent last year, reaching A$4.9 billion, a figure on par with the total for the United States.
But despite the rapid increase in mobile transactions, people still use desktop and laptop personal computers as their main method to transact online, ACMA noted. So-called m-commerce accounted for 27 percent of all online shopping in 2013.
There was a gap of between 25 and 27 percent of Australians that are comfortable conducting online banking and shopping on a desktop or laptop rather than a mobile device.
ACMA noted it was increasingly common for Australians to own three or more digital devices, but it only considered desktops, laptops and mobile phones and excluded tablets from the study.
Australia has a high smartphone penetration - 59 percent of the population, all of which offer 3G or 4G internet connectivity. The study also noted that the availability of apps from Australian banks was contributing to the growth.
Mobile internet use jumped almost two-fold in the three years to December 2013, with 8.3 million active users at the end of last year. ACMA said that in the six months to May 2013, 4.3 million downloaded a finance app, and 2.9 million people downloaded an app from a retailer.
ACMA commissioned Roy Morgan Research to collate the information, based on a sample size of 1253 users in December 2013 as opposed to 387 in December 2010.