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Cash remains hugely important all over the world, shows G4S report

April 19, 2018 Share Source
On April 17th, 2018, G4S - a global, integrated security company - published a report which concludes that worldwide cash use is actually on the rise.

New and alternative payment use has increased, of course, but the report's infographic alone shows how cash is still by far the most widely used form of payment in all regions of the world and cash in circulation is growing...

As it turns out, all this 'cash is dead or dying' hype is no more than hearsay and not at all based on reality. In terms of the public's relationship with cash, it is clear that it is demanded across all continents. As the G4S report shows, both per continent and on a global level, cash is not just important... it is increasingly important.

“Cash remains fundamental in our day to day global economy. The evidence shows that contrary to popular opinion, demand for cash is growing in absolute terms and relative to GDP."
" Jesus Rosano Chief Executive G4S’ Global Cash Division

Key figures from G4S report

  • Globally,
    - cash in circulation relative to GDP has increased to 9.6% across all continents, up from 8.1% in 2011.
    - the value of ATM withdrawals experienced a positive (average weighted) growth rate of 4.6% in 2015.
    - cash is used in over 50% of transactions across 75% of all countries
  • In North America,
    - over 50% of transactions under $25 occurred with cash
    - over 60% of transactions under $10 occurred with cash
  • In South America,
    - cash in circulation has increased by 62% on average
    - only 45% of people have a bank account
    - cash dependency relative to its GDP is 16%, the highest of all continents
  • In Europe,
    - cash was used for 79% of all point of sale transactions
    - cash was used for 60% of all point of sale transactions in 2016
    - cash in circulation has risen by almost 40% on average
  • In Asia,
    - cash in circulation has risen more than 45% across all countries
    - over 75% of e-commerce transactions happened with cash on delivery
  • In Africa,
    - the value of withdrawals and the number of ATMs are rising
    - cash in circulation has risen by almost 40% across all countries
  • In the Middle East,
    - cash on delivery is the most used payment method for e-commerce transactions
  • In Oceania,
    - cash in circulation has increased by 6% in Australia
    - cash in circulation has increased by 6% in New Zealand
“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.
" Jesus Rosano Chief Executive G4S’ Global Cash Division

Excerpt from G4S report

The ‘World Cash Report’ surveyed 47 countries covering 75 percent of the global population and over 90 percent of the world’s GDP. The findings show that demand for cash continues to rise globally, despite the increase in electronic payment options, including mobile in recent years. Cash in circulation relative to GDP has increased to 9.6 percent across all continents, up from 8.1 percent in 2011.

The report highlights the variety of payment habits in different regions. In Europe, 80 percent 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 percent. 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.

The attractiveness of cash and the reason consumers often select cash as their preferred method of payment (if they have a choice in payment method in the first place), could be because cash uniquely covers many of the features that consumers most value in a payment instrument, such as 100% availability and reliability, anonymity, and direct settlement without the need for a technical infrastructure.

“Above all, the World Cash Report highlights that wherever people are in the world, they use and value a range of payment options. There is no region where everyone chooses the same way to pay and cash remains hugely important all over the world.
" Jesus Rosano Chief Executive G4S’ Global Cash Division

Based on the payment attribute analysis, one could conclude that, at least from a user perspective, there shouldn’t be any competition between cash versus non-cash, nor should it be an either/or proposition. There is simply a need to make payments in all circumstances, and both cash and non-cash payment instruments adequately fulfill this need.

According to the report, the following benefits of cash are largely why cash is still king worldwide:

  1. Cost-Efficiency
  2. Inclusion
  3. Trust
  4. Reliability
  5. Accessibility
  6. Confidentiality

So, don't say your goodbyes to the banknotes and coins of the 164 official national currencies just yet. While the public continues to choose cash across 197 countries, it is safe to say that cash is king.

Download full G4S report here


Global Cash Report. G4S. Electronically published April 17, 2018. Accessed April 19, 2018.

About G4S

A global, integrated security company, specializing in the provision of security services and solutions to customers. G4S is quoted on the London Stock Exchange and has a secondary stock exchange listing in Copenhagen.

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