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Cash is vital for financial inclusion, finds NCR Financial whitepaper

April 15, 2018 Share Source

A new white paper by NCR Financial published April 10th, 2018 finds that the unique characteristics of cash and the ATM channel are essential in the ongoing global effort to improve financial inclusion

The World Bank wants to achieve universal financial access by 2020 by ensuring global citizens have access to a transaction account or electronic instrument to store money and handle payments. The NCR Financial paper finds that financial inclusion is a key factor in the recent trend of rising ATM withdrawals.

In the future, we will see a payments industry defined by diversity and choice. Cash will co-exist with cards, online transactions, mobile and whatever exciting technologies might be around the corner. This expansion of choice is already a reality, but it will become ever more important as economies all over the world seek the best route to universal financial inclusion.

Key statistics cited by NCR Financial 

  • 24 percent of people in low-income countries have a bank account (Center for Financial Inclusion)
  • 76 percent of people in low-income countries do not have bank accounts (Center for Financial Inclusion)
  • The overall number of cash withdrawals grew by 10 percent in 2015 to 99 billion (Retail Banking Research, February 2017)
  • In China, growth in ATM usage soared to 23 percent in 2015 (Retail Banking Research, February 2017)

Compared to the undeniable impact of FinTech, the combination of cash's unique characteristics and the innovation in the self-service industry are expected to prove just as significant in the quest for greater financial inclusion.

Partly incentivized by banks’ efforts to migrate more transaction activity into the self-service channel, ATM use grew by 23 percent in China in 2015. 

Excerpt from NCR Financial whitepaper

Why Cash And ATMs Are So Important

In our existing global financial system, any speculation about whether cash will one day be replaced by digital alternatives is largely irrelevant, since so many communities and economies all over the world remain so heavily dependent on physical currency.

“At a time when an increasing number of processes and assets are being digitized, cash retains a particular advantage and plays a vital role in bringing the unbanked & underbanked into the banking system, it’s worth and authenticity are inextricably linked to its physicality.”
" Navroze Dastur Managing Director NCR India & South Asia

As the PYMNTS Global Cash Index has shown, overall cash use is going up in various markets as a result of economic growth and higher total spending. This is despite the fact that the cash share of the payments mix is declining in many countries, owing to the expanding range of payment options available...

“Cash is embedded in cultures and monetary systems around the world. People trust cash as a store of value and it remains a means of payment that can be used by absolutely anyone at any time.”
" Mike Lee CEO ATM Industry Association

...It’s also important to remember the distinct tangibility and universal usability of cash... 

“A transition away from cash would only serve to isolate the unbanked and the underserved from the rest of the population.”
" “A transition away from cash would only serve to i Guillaume Lepecq from Agis Consulting Authored ‘Access to Cash...' study for ATMIA

...This special quality is the result of centuries upon centuries of use and an ingrained appreciation for the value of physical currency.

Download whitepaper here


NCR Financial. 'The Role of the ATM in Driving Financial Inclusion Worldwide'. Published April 10, 2018. Accessed April 14, 2018. 

About NCR Financial
A global tech company that runs everyday transactions that make your life easier. [They're] the world leader in consumer transaction technologies, turning everyday interactions with businesses into exceptional experiences. 

About ATMmarketplace
Since 1997, has reported on the important news, events, trends and people in the ATM industry. [They] reach a global audience of professionals from all sectors of the ATM market, including financial institutions, vendors, retailers and IADs. Our site features a directory of product and service providers as well as slideshows, videos and research.

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Last Updated: June 26, 2018

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