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THE TRANSATLANTIC MAGAZINE

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Cash Use Declines Globally

More people around the world are using cashless methods of payment, a process accelerated by the pandemic

Published on November 18, 2020

Cash Wallet Cards Photo: Artem Beliaikin

A new YouGov poll of 21 countries has found that globally, more people have turned to electronic payments instead of paying in cash during the pandemic.

When asked what impact Covid-19 has had on cash use, 50% of respondents in Britain said that they've "paid in cash less often since the outbreak", while 37% of Britons said there has been no impact, as they "mostly didn't use cash before and still don't". 8% said the pandemic hasn't had an impact, but that they "mostly used cash before and still do", while just 2% of respondents in Britain said they'd "paid in cash more often since the outbreak".

In the US, 25% of respondents said they've "paid in cash less often since the outbreak", while 46% said they "mostly didn't use cash before and still don't". 14% said they "mostly used cash before and still do", with 8% in the US saying that they'd paid in cash more often.

The biggest changes in the use of cashless methods of payment were in countries including Thailand, Malaysia, Spain, the UAE, Australia and Vietnam, where more than 50% of respondents said they paid in cash "less often" since the outbreak.

The YouGov survey also looked at how people feel about the prospect of living in a cashless society. When asked if going cashless would be positive or negative for their country, more than 50% of people from India, Malaysia, the UAE, Indonesia, Vietnam, Singapore, Italy, the Philippines and Thailand said such a move would be positive. By comparison, 50% or more of people in Canada, Spain, Sweden, the US, Germany and France said moving to a cashless system would be negative. In the UK, 26% said the move would be positive, while 47% said a cashless shift would be negative.

The shift to a more cashless society could have big implications for globally mobile Americans, particularly if bank accounts and financial services remain difficult to access for US Citizens residing overseas. The move to more cashless systems could, on the other hand, offer more flexibility for international travelers.

For full results from the YouGov poll, go to yougov.co.uk/topics/economy/articles-reports/2020/11/16/pandemic-accelerates-decline-cash-globally

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