Physical cash retains its popularity in face of electronic onslaught

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A new survey of 47 countries conducted by G4S reveals that demand for cash continues to rise globally, despite the increase in electronic payment options, including mobile in recent years.

While contactless payments and e-commerce growth continues unabated the G4s report highlight the enduring stickiness of notes and coins in the global economy, with cash in circulation relative to GDP increasing to 9.6% across all continents, up from 8.1% in 2011.

In Europe 80% of point-of-sale transactions are conducted in cash, while in North America, where card payments are most regularly used, cash use still accounts for 31%. 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.

Chief executive of G4S’ global cash division, Jesus Rosano, says: The evidence shows that contrary to popular opinion, demand for cash is growing in absolute terms and relative to GDP. People trust cash; it’s free to use and readily available for consumers, it’s confidential, it can’t be hacked and it doesn’t run out of battery power- these unique qualities continue to hold significant value to people living on all continents.”

Just two countries show a significant decline in cash payments. In South Korea (cash use 14%) the government has a project in place to reduce coin circulation, while in Sweden (cash use 20%) electronic payments have seen a huge rise.

Resistance to the cashless economy can be demonstrated in Singapore, where the University of Singgapore’s attempt to create a cashless campus has led to a backlash among vendors and students alike. A petition has been started against the move, slated for introduction in the next academic term, citing worries such as the lack of “inclusiveness” and the unreliable and “erratic nature” of the Wi-Fi connection on campus which could affect access to cashless payments.

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