Cash is Still Alive and Kicking [BIS Report]

Rob Suddaby
Posted by Rob Suddaby
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Even though more people now use cards and mobile phones to pay, a recent report says that the demand for cash is not letting up and is even on the rise.

The Bank for International Settlements (BIS) says that "despite the increased use of electronic payments around the world, there is scant evidence of a shift away from cash".

In fact, not only are few countries using less cash, most advanced economies have seen demand for cash rise since the start of the financial crisis. 


Cash is Not Dying Out

"Cryptocurrencies...are part of a broader debate on the nature of money in the digital age," says Hyun Song Shin, BIS economic adviser and head of research said.

"Some of the breathless commentary gives the impression that cash in the form of traditional notes and coins is going out of fashion fast."

Nevertheless BIS' latest Quarterly Review (March 2018), shows that cash is far from dying out.

"Despite all the technological improvements in payments in recent years, the use of good old-fashioned cash is still rising in most (though not all) advanced and emerging market economies."

The Resilience of Cash

The report points to statistics showing that both cash in circulation and e-payments have been increasing since 2007. 

Cash in circulation has risen from 7 percent of GDP in 2000 to 9 percent in 2016.

And only Russia and Sweden have shown evidence of cards and other forms of e-payment actually replacing cash.

"The resilience of cash as a social institution reminds us of the importance of understanding the economic functions of money, beyond just the innovations in technology," says Shin.

Full article: Payments are a-changin' but cash still rules, BIS Quarterly Review, March 2018

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