The RBA collects a range of transaction data from Australian financial institutions and publishes this data in aggregated form. In 2019, the RBA expanded their publication, with the number of series published expanding from 61 to 300. Data collected by the RBA covers credit and debit card systems, the direct entry system, the ATM system, and cheque payments. The 2019 update to the RBA publication ensured there was comprehensive coverage of industry activity.
The ABS make use of six key variables regarding transactions made overseas on a card issued by an Australian financial institution.
1. Overseas credit and charge card cash advance transactions
2. Overseas commercial credit and charge card purchase transactions
3. Overseas personal credit and charge card purchase transactions
4. Overseas debit card transactions
5. Overseas prepaid card transactions
6. Overseas ATM cash withdrawals by debit cards
These variables provide valuable and timely insight into the changes in both traveller behaviour and spending patterns of Australians travelling overseas. The data does not cover all travel activities, however, they cover a large portion of overseas transactions by Australian residents and are fit for purpose.
Combined, these variables provide high quality estimates for the changes in both spending patterns (i.e., Australian’s spending different amounts of money overseas in different periods) and travel patterns (i.e., Australian’s spending more time overseas in different periods). Being able to account for these changes is becoming increasingly relevant as Australia moves out of COVID-19 restrictions, with the RBA data source being a more timely data source available that captures both changes in spending patterns and travel patterns.