Cash is King in Latin America

calendar iconJun 15, 2022


The latest Global Payments Report shows the sharp decline in cash usage seen in 2020 slowed greatly in 2021. In Latin America, overall point of sale (POS) transactions have rebounded, up 12 percent from 2020, and cash remains the leading payment method, used for 36 percent of all transactions.

Cash continues to be a vital part of the POS mix, accounting for 17.9 percent of transaction value (over US$8.3 trillion) in 2021.
"FIS Worldpay Global Payments Report 2022

Across Asia-Pacific, cash was used for 16 percent of point-of-sale (POS) payments overall in 2021, but is the most-used payment method in around half of the region, including Thailand, which uses cash for 63.4 percent of POS payments, Vietnam (53.8 percent) and Indonesia (51 percent).

In Europe, cash accounted for 26 percent of all POS payments. Norway had the lowest level of cash use worldwide in 2021 at just 4 percent while Spain saw the highest at 47.1 percent.

In Latin America, cash is the most common way to pay at POS, with credit cards the next most popular choice (28 percent) followed by debit cards (23 percent). In Mexico, cash is used for 41 percent of POS transactions versus 24 percent debit cards and 22 percent credit cards. Argentina’s cash use is at 34 percent, Brazil’s is 35 percent and Colombia’s is at 42 percent.

The Middle East and Africa also continue to see high cash usage, with 44 percent of POS payments using it, well ahead of the next most-used option, credit cards, which account for 20 percent of POS payments.

In North America, cash was used for 11 percent of POS transactions, behind credit and debit cards. Cash rebounded slightly in Canada, accounting for 5.7 percent of POS payments in 2021, while it saw a minor drop from 11.9 percent to 11.4 percent in America.

Elsewhere in the payments landscape, the report shows credit card use dropped in 2021 while debit card usage rose, and cards overall are losing ground to mobile wallet payments, which saw their share of global transactions rise by over 21 percent compared to 2020.

Last Updated: Jun 14, 2022