Cash is losing fast but are we living at the ‘cash’ end? a as alternative forms of paymentAs payment via credit card, application or mobile phone continues to grow, the number of people who continue to use the physical format is becoming less and less. According to data from the Bank of Spain in its latest national survey on the use of cash, 35.9% of citizens recognized it as their most common means of payment, while 54% decided on a card.
As in Spain, it is common for credit cards to take the lead and be the ‘king’ of transactions in the most digitized countries. However, although it is common to hear about the short-term end of cash, especially after the pandemic that forced many businesses to go digital, the reality is that ‘cash’ resists. According to the European Central Bank, 48% of all payments are made through banknotes. In the United States, cash in circulation reached All-time high of $2.09 trillionAccording to Federal Reserve data.
Whether this end is near or not, the reality is that there are countries in which the debate is about to end. Various economies are already testing formulas to finalize Push to paper as currency value To move to a digital model. It is because its citizens have decided to opt for other options or as governments plan to facilitate this transition, these are the cases in which cash is dying.
Sweden and Norway
Sweden is one of the great odds against cash. Its central bank, which is the oldest in the world and has more than 354 years behind it, has been leading the campaign against cash since the beginning of the last decade. Sweden from 2011 to 2020 The use of cash has been reduced from 39 per cent to 9 per cent. As the country itself states on its website “Sweden is moving towards a cashless society” and that “cashless payments go hand in hand with the Swedish lifestyle”.
Despite everything, Sweden is at the point of no return, although it is a step away from the complete elimination of paper money, asking the state to increase Use of physical money because shops, banks And other organizations are accelerating this transition and refusing to accept cash. The problem is that although a good part of society is ready for a cashless Sweden, there are rural areas that oppose its disappearance and because of this, the country’s executive wants the transition not to be so rapid that it is a great Change leaves part of its population behind.
To prevent running out of cash, the government has asked its citizens to keep cash at home. However, they do not give up on the ultimate goal of complete digitization and are one of the leading countries in their digital currency (Ekrona), which was one of the first in the world And he hopes it will further help in this paradigm shift. In addition to this formula, Swish uses mobile payments, highlighting Swish, a payment method introduced by the six large Swedish banks and which is the absolute leader in the country. They are also at the forefront of other payment methods such as the Klarna app.
Apart from Sweden, its neighboring country Norway is another great example. Norwegians only use notes or coins for 3-4% of their transactions, according to the country’s central bank, Norges Bank. It is the country in the Old Continent with the least cash usage and this raises concerns within its borders. Although they are only one step away from full digitization, they are currently taking their foot off the accelerator. Norwegian Consumer Agency They have been receiving complaints since the coronavirus about situations such as not being able to pay for the bus in cash or not being able to buy coffee in Oslo. In particular, the country’s retired union has expressed its grievances and concerns about the direction that the transition to a society without material wealth requires for a less digitized population.
Despite the fact that the Nordic nations take the cake, the Netherlands is one of the fastest growing countries on the entire European continent and, therefore, in the world. In 2005, payments in cash represented over 52% of payments in the country, In 2011 it became 40% and in 2015 it was already 30%. Currently this figure is already below 24% and the efforts to digitize payments have been doubled again after the arrival of Covid.
According to the Dutch Association of Payments, card usage is already over 75% and they estimate the value of payments through this medium will reach 196,300 million in 2024. In addition, the use of cards is growing more and more markedly. Mobile payments with up to 30% off Transacted through this medium last year.
However, in this case, the ones that are pushing the most to digitize Dutch society are the banks. These are trying to quickly move customers to digital banking to save on structural costs like branches or ATMs. Digital customers are already 89% in this country while The European average is 60%. In addition, all major national entities such as AMRO, ING and Rabobank agreed five years ago to jointly cooperate to maintain a minimum service with which to participate in the society without banknotes. I want to use cash to reduce costs in transition.
Interestingly, in the country where he was born, the end of paper currency may soon come to an end. China has recently experienced a few years of rapid transition towards digitization. it has reached the point where People’s Bank of China is launching a round of fines against public and private organizations for refusing to accept cash payments. The institution commented in its latest statement on the matter that it took these restrictions “to protect citizens’ rights to access cash”.
The companies in the country are faced with the widespread use of new payment systems and the banking system in particular has to maintain a system to secure the cash of its customers, which is no longer profitable in times of low income. For this reason, there has been a general dissolution of cash which is being settled Various institutions are completely rejecting him. Many banks are trying to achieve digital bank status so as not to be under an obligation to provide this service.
One of the latest cases is of a Beijing entity, Zhongguancun Bank, which has suspended all its cash services, including ATM and window withdrawals, since April this year. Newup Bank has also taken this decision recently. The country’s largest banks are nowhere close to joining the measure, but digitization is a fact and proof of this is the manifold growth in digital payment services like WeChat Pay and Alipay (from Alibaba) in recent years.
According to the latest survey by the People’s Bank of China, 66% of payments are made through mobile, while cash represented only 23%, Especially in the big cities of the country, paying using tickets is really complicated and everything is done through QR codes. Paying using cards is also something unique in the eastern country, where only 7% of transactions are done through it.
For its part, the country is also moving to another digital payment method such as the digital yuan, which still hasn’t found much popular support. digital currency created by the central bank of The country deposited $ 13,680 million In transactions, still far from the goals set by the institution.
Seoul is a city where cash is almost a thing of the past. The Asian country remains immersed in a roadmap set by its government to digitize its payments in a monetary experiment that began in 2016 and could set the course for other countries. Cash in circulation in the country represented only 40% of the total, a historical minimum. Too Cash accounted for just 17% of total transactions in the country.
Since 2017, the government and the country’s central bank have been offering cards and alternative payment systems for citizens. Small payments to encourage transition. In fact, Korea is the fastest growing ‘freedom’ of cash in Asia.’ Like China, they maintain this change through the strong presence of mobile payment companies and the use of a digital currency called S-coin.
Canada and Australia
Aside from Europe or Asia, the US has one major benchmark of progress towards the end of cash: Canada. The country led by Justin Trudeau is on this path, actually Visa defends that Canadian”Are you ready to stop using cash? Because the country has the “highest penetration (70%) of credit card payments in the world”.
Although cash in circulation in Canada remains at an average high of $70 per capita, cash transactions have fallen to only 17% of the total in 2021. Meanwhile, in credit, debit and prepaid cards they add up to 60% of total operations. Electronic payments account for 12%.
Australia is also another great example. According to the latest report by The Global Payments, the ocean country will experience an even faster transition to cash payments Only 2% of all transactions in 2025. The latest RBA (Reserve Bank of Australia) consumer payments survey in June showed that the proportion of personal cash payments made in Australia fell from around 75% in 2007 to around 30% in 2019.