The world is going cashless. Mobile payment apps have gained in popularity over the last few years, but no region has embraced the change more than Asia.
The 2019 World Payments Report shows that from 2016 to 2017, the number of non-cash transaction shot up 32 percent in Asian countries compared with other regions around the world. Europe increased by just 7.5 percent and North America by only 5 percent, with the Middle East, Africa, and Latin America far behind.
As a result of these findings, the future of cashless payments seems to be happening in Asia. The region is projected to grow from 96.2 billion in non-cash transactions in 2017 to $352.8 billion by 2022, a meteoric rise of over 266 percent.
Meanwhile, Euopre is expected to go from $133.8 billion to $203.6 billion and North America will increase from $160.6 billion to $201.8 billion. That’s a mere increase of 52 percent and and 25.6 percent, respectively. But what is the reason for this comparative stagnation?
At least part of the problem is the continued existence of economic hurdles. It is a growing belief that electronic payment systems are discriminatory against underprivileged and marginalized groups, such as the poor, minorities, minors, and the elderly.
“The City of New York cannot allow the digital economy to leave behind the 25 percent of New Yorkers who are chronically unbanked and underbanked,” Councilman Ritchie Torres recently told the New York Post. This feeling has led to New York, San Francisco, and Philadelphia instituting bans on cashless-only businesses.
Although the ability to pay on the go using a smartphone was deemed appealing to 70 percent of Americans in 2019, there are still major roadblocks in the way of a truly cashless society.