Consumers in key markets around the world have switched from physical cash to digital and contactless payment methods at “a rate unprecedented” since the Bank for International Settlements (BIS) launched its Red Book of payment and settlement statistics in 2004, BIS says.

The latest findings published in the BIS Red Book also show that “the share of contactless payments in total card transactions increased in 2020 at its highest rate since 2015” and that “the growth in total credit transfer usage was so strong that the share of non-cash payments in total GDP sharply increased across the globe”.

In addition, they reveal that while, on average, consumers in advanced economies (AE) made close to twice as many cashless payments as residents of emerging markets and developing economies (EMDE), “both groups of countries are similar in that most of these payments were made using a debit or credit card”.

In India, for example, BIS found that the volume of non-cash payments has nearly quadrupled from 10,926m in 2016 to 40,628m in 2020 and that the value of such transactions increased from US$3,289,188m in 2016 to US$5,293,058m in 2020, while in the UK non-cash transactions volumes increased from 25,152m in 2016 to 30,910m in 2020 and values grew from US$112,201,396m to US$128,779,403m in 2020.

The statistics also show that although the amount of cash in circulation “reached a decade high due to a surge in demand for high-value banknotes, suggesting that cash was increasingly held as a store of value rather than for making payments […] generally, the total number of cash withdrawals declined by 23%, exceeding the 10% decline in value”. 

BIS Red Book statistics include data about transactions across all forms of payment methods for Argentina, Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Netherlands, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, South Africa, South Korea, Spain, Switzerland, Turkey, UK and USA.

BIS finds consumers worldwide are switching to digital and contactless payments at ‘unprecedented rate’ was written by Tom Phillips and published by NFCW.

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