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The Graphic Truth: The world needs less cash

Line chart comparing non-cash transactions volume in 5 global regions from 2019 to 2023.
Ari Winkleman

The world is not going cashless — but it certainly is using a lot less physical money than before. Non-cash transactions exploded during the pandemic, when people around the world first started buying everything online and then became accustomed to having less cash on them to do business in brick-and-mortar establishments. But the so-called "less cash" revolution is not playing out equally across the globe: while rich nations mostly use contactless cards, mobile payments are king in Africa. Meanwhile, QR codes are the way to go in Asia-Pacific, which is leading the surge in the global adoption of cashless payments. We take a look at how different regions have performed since 2019 and look ahead to next year.

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