The cashless revolution, a cashless society, is one of the macrotrends that happened before the 2020 pandemic lockdowns and has accelerated since then. 

A cashless society no longer uses physical notes and coins  to conduct financial transactions and relies primarily on technologies like credit cards and mobile phone apps to make digital payments.

A contactless payment system is popular amongst cashless societies

This system uses technologies, such as radio-frequency identification (RFID) or near-field communication (NFC) for making secure contactless payments. 

Cashless Society
Digital Payments

“A cashless society no longer uses physical notes and coins to conduct financial transactions and relies primarily on technologies like credit cards and mobile phone apps to make digital payments”

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The most cashless society in order

Canada is the most cashless society, with 83% of the population over 15 years of age, using credit debit cards.

Canada also has the highest contactless payment limit in the world at CAD 250 (£147~).

Europe then makes the most cashless society on the list. 

Sweden is the second most cashless society and has a widespread adoption of contactless payments.

The United Kingdom is the third most cashless society in the world, with a significant growth in contactless payments post-2020 lockdowns. 

Spain is another European country where contactless payments are widely used, especially for small purchases.

China and South Korea are experiencing widespread adoption of mobile payment platforms and digital wallets.

Canada - most cashless society

Canada is the most cashless society, with 83% of the population over 15 years of age, using credit debit cards

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The US is also moving towards a cashless society, according to the Federal Reserve’s latest Diary of Consumer Payment Choice

The Fed survey analysed the payment method used for all US purchases. 

The data is based on the results gathered from a nationally representative survey of US consumers. The survey tracked purchases made during an assigned three-day period (n= 4,453). 

Fear of virus transmission through physical cash led consumers and businesses to prefer contactless payment methods
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What are the key takeaways from the Fed’s latest Diary of Consumer Payment Choice?

Cash has fallen from 31% in 2016 to just 18% in 2022, according to the Fed’s latest survey. 

Accelerated adoption towards a US cashless society was during the 2020 global pandemic lockdowns. 

Mass psychosis, a pandemic of mass mental illness during the 2020 pandemic lockdown, triggered a hygiene mania, which promoted and enforced isolation and no contact.

Fear of virus transmission through physical cash led consumers and businesses to prefer contactless payment methods.

Social distancing rules accelerated a shift towards online shopping and delivery services, which require digital payments and propelled the macro trend of a cashless society. 

Moreover, restrictive access to ATMs and banking services during lockdowns made obtaining and using cash less convenient.

It is worth noting that the shift towards a cashless society was already in play before the global pandemic lockdowns, which merely accelerated the trend.

Digital payments are forecast to soar to USD 19.89 Trillion by 2026.  

Who are the top companies facilitating a cashless society?

Alipay.com Co Ltd is a leading player in the Chinese digital payment landscape.

Amazon Pay is also moving into the digital payment landscape, with it’s e-commerce landscape having a huge heads-up. 

MasterCard International Inc., American Express Co., PayPal Holdings Inc., Visa Inc., Paytm, Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd, Google Inc., Facebook Inc. and Microsoft Corporation are all set to profit from the global cashless society revolution.

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