Going cashless, country by country

Multiple countries are locked in the battle to become the world’s first truly cashless nation; for others, becoming cashless is necessary due to unique local circumstances. Either way, it is well known that cash is being phased out across large portions of the globe. Here are ten interesting cashless facts from around the world:

  • Ecuador’s central bank introduced its own virtual currency in 2014 – its first fiat currency since discontinuing the Sucre in 2000 and relying on the US Dollar since 
  • India banned large denomination notes in a bid to quell a huge underground economy - this was seen as the first step for smaller merchants in the country to ‘go digital’
  • South Korea is hoping to become cashless by 2020 and is encouraging merchants to give change in the form of electronic credit in order to phase out cash. Eventually, the country plans to adopt a Bitcoin-esque digital currency
  • Almost 11 million Britons now consider themselves virtually cashless, paying for almost everything by card or online
  • One of Sweden’s most iconic companies, IKEA, has eliminated cash from one of their stores as part of the experiment to improve the customer experience
  • According to the deputy governor of Norway's central bank Jon Nicolaisen, Norway is now effectively cashless,with only 10% of all transactions in the country cash
  • In self-declared republic of Somaliland, the inflation rate is so high that you would need wads of cash just to buy groceries - most adults now use Zaad, a mobile payments app, to complete quick transactions instead of counting notes
  • QR-code payments through popular local systems AliPay and WeChat are accepted almost everywhere in China – even by beggars and street performers
  • Denmark’s central bank, National Banken, stopped printing new money in 2016
  • In 2012, the Italian government banned all financial transactions exceeding €1,000 using cash