Top Facts

There is no region where everyone chooses the same way to pay and cash remains hugely important all over the world.

Cash Usage worldwide - Infographic

top facts

1. Cash remains the most widely used payment instrument in the world on all continents.

Cash in circulation relative to GDP has increased to 9.6 per cent across all continents, up from 8.1 per cent in 2011. South America has by far the highest cash dependency relative to its GDP (16 per cent)

2. In Europe 79 per cent of point of sale transactions are in cash.

In 2016, 60 per cent of all transactions in Europe were made in cash.

3. Globally, the value of ATM withdrawals experienced a positive (average weighted) growth rate of 4.6 per cent in 2015.

In North America, the value of ATM withdrawals has largely stabilised, growing only marginally, however cash is still used for over 50 per cent of small-value transactions under $25.

4. 75 per cent of countries report cash is used in over 50 per cent of transactions.

24 of the studied countries had available cash surveys. Of those, 18 reported that cash was used in over 50 per cent of transactions. 

5. Businesses that do not typically accept cash have seen growth when they introduced a cash option.

Uber, who’s biggest selling point is their electronic payment system, saw exponential growth when they introduced a cash option in Asia, Africa and South America.

6. 3 in 4 e-commerce transactions in Asia completed in cash.

In Asia the rise of online purchases does not mean that cash is taken out of the equation, with more than 3 out of every 4 online purchases in a number of countries paid for by cash on delivery. 

7. Just two countries show a significant decline in cash payments.

In South Korea (cash use 14 per cent) the government has a project in place to reduce coin circulation, while in Sweden (cash use 20 per cent) electronic payments have seen a huge rise.

8. Paper money was introduced during the Song Dynasty in China in the 11th century.

The first European banknotes were issued by Stockholm’s Banco, a predecessor of the Bank of Sweden, in 1661.

9. 2bn global citizens with no bank account.

Cash is fundamental to financial inclusion.  It allows everyone, including the unbanked, to participate in our day-to-day society. There are just under a third of the world’s population (2 billion people) without access to a bank account.

10. There are 164 official national currencies circulating around the world.

Some of the 197 countries share the same currency (most notably the 19 countries in the Euro area), while others have more than one currency within their country (such as Panama and Bhutan). 
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