30 Cashless payments statistics, trends, and adoption rates 2024

With the growing use of digital payment methods, how close are we to a cashless society? In this article, we are looking at the global payment cashless system, including types of cashless payments, and the world’s most cashless countries.
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Updated: Apr 29, 2024
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In a cashless society, banknotes, coins, and all forms of physical money aren’t used for payments. Instead, people rely on digital payment methods. Cashless payment solutions involve credit and debit cards, mobile wallets, buy-now-pay-later schemes, and QR codes. 

The world is heading towards a significant cut in cash use to 16% share of in-store transactions, making digital payments the norm. People have been asking: Is the government trying to get rid of cash? This is not really the case, as consumers are those driving the shift, looking for safer and easier digital transactions. 

Yet a cashless society isn’t on the immediate horizon for many markets globally. But how close are we to a cashless society? Which are the world’s most cashless countries? And which are the most cash-dependent economies? To help you navigate this new era in payments, Invezz.com has researched these burning questions to summarize the latest data in a statistics article.

Key takeaways

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  • Cash payments accounted for just 16% of in-store transaction value globally in 2023.
  • China leads the global cashless payments market with a 32% share of all digital transactions.
  • The Asia Pacific region is projected to lead global cashless payment growth with an annual increase of 19.8% by 2027.
  • In the UK, up to 86% of transactions were cashless in 2022, compared to a 40% average across Europe.
  • In the US, cashless payments accounted for 82% of total payments in 2022.
  • Cash prevails in low-income countries, with consumers in Thailand recording the highest cash usage rate at 66% in 2023.
  • Cards dominate the global cashless payments market with a 60% share in value of transactions.
  • More than half of all card-based payments were contactless in Europe and the US in 2022, with the UK experiencing a 91% contactless rate.
  • Asia Pacific leads global digital wallets adoption, with 76% actively using the solution.
  • Europe leads buy-now-pay-later adoption, with 8% actively using the scheme.

General cashless society statistics

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1. The share of cash payments in all in-store transactions was 16% in 2023.

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Cash is on the decline, accounting for just 16% of point-of-sale transaction value globally. The share of cash payments is further expected to drop to 11% by 2027.

Source: Worldpay

2. About 85% of global executives predicted a cashless society in 10 years.

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In a 2023 study by the University of Oxford and Proviti, about a third of executives expected the shift to happen in 5 years, and 85% expected such a future 10 years from now.

Source: University of Oxford/Proviti

3. UK consumers cite faster transactions as the main benefit of a cashless society.

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In the UK, cash remains a prominent choice, with the majority (59%) indicating regular use in a 2023 survey. But most people (76%) agree that the UK society is going cashless. 

This alignment with the idea of a cashless society stems from hopes for faster transactions (30%), easier tracking of expenses (25%), greater convenience (25%), and reduced risk of theft (20%).

Source: Payments Innovation Forum

4. Security and protection from fraud is the biggest factor considered when Americans choose digital payments.

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The UK isn’t there yet, but is the US going cashless? A comparatively low share of Americans (41%) reported going cashless in a 2022 survey by the Pew Research Center. 

Those who considered switching to digital payment methods in 2023 most appreciated security (50%), privacy (40%), and trust (39%), while cost was not in the forefront, at 21%.   

Source: Pew ResearchTemenos

5. Safer transactions are the key benefit of a cashless society, according to 59% of Southeast Asia consumers.

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Meanwhile, a 2022 survey by Visa revealed that 70% of Southeast Asian consumers have been trying to go cashless. Most people (59%) believed that safer transactions are the biggest benefit of a cashless society, followed by greater convenience (56%) and ease of tracking financial records (53%).

Source: Visa

6. From a business perspective, the biggest advantages of digital payments are convenience and efficacy (43%), followed by privacy.

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Executives surveyed in 2023 said that cashless business payments through digitized currency bring the benefits of convenience and efficiency (43%), privacy (39%), security (38%), low transaction costs (36%), and improved customer experience (30%). A small share believed in the potential of digitized currency to bring access to data (13%).  

Source: University of Oxford/Proviti

Cashless payments market statistics

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The cashless payments market is set to grow strongly over the next few years, driven by Asia Pacific.

7. The transaction value in the digital payments market is forecasted to reach $11.55 trillion in 2024.

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Global preferences for cashless payments are driven by the adoption of instant payments and open banking, along with shifts towards digital. Post-pandemic, the shift to cashless society has stuck with consumers.

Source: StatistaCapgemini

8. The digital payments market size is expected to grow to $16.62 trillion by 2028.

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Between 2024 and 2028 the total transaction value of the digital payments market will grow by 9.5% annually, reaching $16.62 trillion.

Source: Statista           

9. Asia Pacific will lead global cashless payments growth, growing at 19.8% annually by 2027.

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Capgemini’s 2023 report identified APAC as a future leader in cashless payments. By contrast, 2022-2027 growth will be slowest in Europe (10.7%) and North America (6.2%). 

Source: Capgemini

Types of cashless payments

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Credit and debit cards dominate among the various types of cashless payments, with Asia Pacific showing the strongest adoption of digital wallets.

10. Card-based transactions constituted 60% of all cashless point-of-sale transactions globally in 2023.

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Digital or mobile wallet payments were the second most used method, with a 35% share in cashless payments. However, the source uses a broad definition of digital/mobile wallets, including various types of cashless payments like Apple Pay, Google Pay, Paypal, Alipay, etc.

Source: Worldpay

11. Among types of cashless payments, debit cards (64%), digital wallets (56%), and credit cards (48%) had the highest active adoption globally. 

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In 2022, Accenture asked consumers globally which payment methods they use at least five times per month. Apart from cash, actively used by 66% of the global population, 64% said debit cards, followed by digital wallets, credit cards, bank transfers, and direct debit.

Account-to-account (A2A) apps such as were far less popular, apart from Latin America, where 35% were active users. Likewise, buy-now-pay-later schemes were most popular in Europe at 8%.

Source: Accenture

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In the global Accenture survey, Asia-Pacific was highlighted as the region with the highest digital wallets adoption. About 76% of consumers in the region reported using this cashless payment solution at least 5 times per month.

To set this in context, active digital wallet users were 43% in North America, 54% in Europe, and 64% in Latin America.

Source: Accenture

13. Big-ticket items are mostly paid by cards, but cash dominates for small-ticket in-store purchases.

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For in-person purchases of larger products and services like appliances, furniture, or travel services, cash is replaced by cards across all regions globally. Especially credit cards are the primary payment method for big-ticket items in North America (55% in-store and 45% online) and Latin America (52% in-store and 50% online).

When it comes to buying small items in-store, cash is the primary payment method in Latin America (46%), Asia-Pacific (36%), and Europe (38%), but not in North America, where debit card payments dominate (33%). 

Source: Accenture

14. The majority all card-based payments are contactless in Europe and the US.

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The demand for the touch-free feature grows in Western markets. In Europe, 54% of all credit and debit card payments were contactless in 2022, a percentage that jumps to 91% for the UK market. 

Sources: European Central BankMastercardBarclays

15. Enterprise payments have a higher value share (56%) than retail payments (44%). 

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Payments from retail customers dominate with a 59% share of total transaction volume, vs. 41% for commercial payments. But from payment executives’ perspective, corporate and SME payments offer higher profit potential than retail, with 56% and 44% share, respectively.

Source: Capgemini

World’s most cashless countries

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Global preferences for cashless payments are strongest across developed economies, but there are some notable exceptions. 

16. China leads in the global cashless payments market, taking up 32% of total digital transactions globally.

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China is on track to become the world’s top cashless society. In 2024 the total transaction value of digital payments in China is expected to reach $3.7 trillion. This is about a third of the world’s digital payments market and is the highest globally. 

Source: Statista

17.  In China, over 80% of daily consumption transactions were carried out on mobile devices in 2021.

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China skipped credit cards and the country went straight to mobile payments. Even in 2021, a staggering 80% of all payments were made through smartphones. 

According to a 2023 study by Statista, China’s most popular digital payment methods are Alipay with a 93% adoption rate among online users and WeChat Pay (85%), followed by UnionPay (45%), JD Pay (23%), Apple Pay (22%), Tenpay (19%), BestPay (14%), and PayPal (11%).

Source: UnionPayStatista

18. In the Euro area, 4 in 10 point-of-sale transactions were cashless in 2022.

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According to the European Central Bank, cash still dominates in European stores, accounting for 59% of transactions in 2022, yet down from 72% in 2019. 

In the meantime, the share of cashless payments is on the rise, reaching 35% for card payments and 7% for other payments such as mobile apps. For purchases over €50, cards were the norm.

Source: European Central Bank

19. In the Euro area, it was possible to buy goods with the cashless payment system in 81% of transactions in 2022.

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Digital payment methods are the norm when it comes to online purchases. But in physical settings, cash use dramatically rises and some stores are still cash-only. In fact, it was possible to pay with cashless payment solutions in just about 4 in 5 transactions across European stores. 

Source: European Central Bank

20. In Europe, cash is least likely to circulate in the UK and Nordic countries.

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The so-called cash in circulation (CIC) to GDP ratio is used to roughly measure the general use of banknotes and coins across countries. In Europe, the ratio is lowest in Norway (1.2%), Sweden (1.3%), Iceland (2.5%), and the UK (3.5%), meaning that coins and banknotes are least likely to circulate in these economies. By contrast, the CIC to GDP ratio is highest in Albania (18%), Greece (16%), and Bulgaria (16%).

But is the government trying to get rid of cash? The simple answer is No. And we are not ready yet. Just 18% of Brits support the creation of a central bank digital pound, according to a 2023 survey. By contrast, about half strongly oppose government-produced digital money to replace coins and banknotes.

Sources: The Bank for International SettlementsThe World BankCoinstar

21. In the Euro area, the share of mobile payments is highest in the Netherlands at 10% of all transactions.

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Results from the 2022 survey by the European Central Bank also showed that mobile payments share exceeded 5% in Finland, Ireland, Latvia, and Luxembourg. Meanwhile, over 80% of daily consumption transactions in China were carried out on mobile devices.

Source: European Central BankUnionPay

22. In the UK, up to 86% of transactions were cashless in 2022.

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Digital payments usage varies significantly, even across Europe. The UK is among the most cashless countries in the region, with just 14% of all transactions carried out in cash in 2022. The remaining 86% were carried out in various types of types of cashless payments, including debit card (50%), direct debit (10%), faster payments (9%), credit card (9%), and bacs direct debit payments (4%).

Source: UK Finance

23. In the US, the share of non-cash payments in total payments reached 82% in 2022.

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The US is moving quickly towards a cashless society, with just 18% of transactions carried out in cash. The rate has remained consistent since the COVID-19 pandemic.

Source: Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco

24. In Canada, non-cash purchases accounted for 78% of all purchases in 2022.

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The Bank of Canada surveyed consumers and identified that cash usage rate dropped to 22% in 2022, accounting for 12% of purchases value. Among the types of cashless payments, credit and contactless credit dominated, at 15% and 33%, respectively. 

By contrast, debit (8%) and contactless debit (13%) were far less popular in Canada. Other cashless payment solutions, including emerging digital payment methods, accounted for just 9% of transactions.

Source: Bank of Canada

25. In South Korea, cashless payment solutions took 85% of total transactions in South Korea.

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South Korea is among the leading cashless countries in the world, with cash accounting for just 15% of total transactions. This is down from 35% in 2023.

Source: Bank of Korea

26. In Australia, non-cash transactions had an 87% share in 2022.

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In Australia, cash usage has been gradually replaced by fast-growing types of cashless payments. Debit and credit cards are most prominent with a 76% share in transactions and a 65% share in value. Other noteworthy digital payment methods are online/phone banking (3%), BPAY (2%), and Paypal (2%). 

Source: Reserve Bank of Australia

27. In Russia, the share of cashless transactions in the overall retail sector reached 70% in 2020.

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Even a couple of years ago, the share of cashless payments in Russia’s retail turnover was very high, at 70%. Debit cards greatly prevailed, constituting 94% of all cashless transactions, mostly due to the insufficient development of financial systems and the lack of trust and credibility.

Source: Cashless Payment in Emerging Markets: The Case of Russia

World’s most cash-dependent countries

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Low-income societies are most likely to be reliant on physical cash, yet some economies in Europe show surprising cash usage rates.

28. Cash disproportionally leads in lower-income countries.

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Cash was the leading in-store payment method in terms of transaction value across just 12 out of 40 markets that Worldpay studied in 2023. The list was dominated by lower-income countries, including Argentina, Colombia, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, Nigeria, the Philippines, Peru, Poland, Spain, Thailand and Vietnam. 

Source: Worldpay

29. In the Eurozone, Malta, Slovenia, and Austria had 70% or more of in-store transactions paid with cash.

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While card payments are the most popular choice for big-ticket online purchases, cash is the king for daily consumption across European physical stores. The highest shares in terms of number of payments were observed in Malta (77%), Slovenia (73%), Austria (70%) and Italy (69%).

Source: European Central Bank

30. Thailand has the highest cash usage rate in Southeast Asia, at 66% in 2023.

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Among the countries that have launched consumer payment diaries, Thailand stood out as the most cash-dependent market. Just 34% of transactions are digital, and the remaining 66% are carried out in cash.

The most popular types of cashless payments in the country are mobile/internet banking (28%), e-wallet (2.5%), debit card/ATM (2%), and credit card (1%). 

Source: Bank of Thailand

Final notes

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Cash has been losing its relevance across developed economies, but how close are we to a cashless society? Global preferences for cashless payments continue to grow, with many turning to digital payment methods. Consumers and particularly those in Southeast Asia have been experimenting with going cashless, looking for safety and convenience. 

Despite the trend, there has been resistance to replacing physical currency entirely. In many markets, cash dominates for small-ticket in-store purchases. Often, this is a matter of digital payments methods acceptance. As instant payment infrastructures and open banking develop, cashless payment rates will also increase.



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Delyana Georgieva
Data Analyst
Delyana is a Data Analyst at Invezz, an experienced market researcher and content creator. Prior to joining Invezz, she worked at marketing agencies and for an... read more.