UK Is Third Most Cashless Country In The World, China Sixth, According To New Study

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The UK is reputed to be one of the most tech-savvy economies in the world, with digital banking, payments systems and finance platforms to rival anywhere in the world.

A new report from Forex Bonuses has ranked the UK as the third most cashless society in the world, behind only Canada, in first place, and Sweden. China, often thought of as the next global leader in fintech disrupted services, thanks to home-grown ecommerce giants like Alibaba and its affiliated payments service Alipay, and mobile wallet integrated full-service apps like WeChat, ranked sixth.

France took fourth spot, the USA fifth, with Australia, Germany, Japan, and Russia making up the rest of the top ten.

The six metrics used to evaluate 20 of the world’s top economies, with the top ten ranked, were the number of credit and debit cards owned per person, number of cards in issue with contactless functionality, growth of cashless payments over the past five years, non-cash payment transactions made, number of payments options available to the average consumer, and number of cashless payment transactions made.

41% of the UK’s credit and debit cards now come with contactless functionality, the research revealed, some way ahead of Canada’s 26%, but behind China, where 56% of cards in circulation have contactless functionality, although credit card ownership in the country is low; just 0.33 cards per capita.

57% of all transactions made in Canada are cashless, 5% more than in the UK, which recorded 52%, but behind Sweden and France, with 59%. Perhaps surprisingly, although China’s vast population ought to be taken into account, only 10% of transactions in the country are cashless.

Only the population of the US own more credit cards per person than Canada, over 2 per person. The figure in the US is closer to three per person.

The Chinese appear to be the best educated about mobile payments services, with 77% claiming to be aware of the mobile payments options available to them, whilst in the UK, only 47% claimed to be aware. Russia also scored highly in terms of understanding of mobile payments options, with 57% saying they were “very aware” of the options available to them.

Despite the fact that Canada scored the lowest number of debit cards per person across all 20 countries in the study, the country’s score of 6.48 out of 10 saw it nose ahead of Sweden, 6.47, the UK, 6.42, France, 6.25, and the US, some way back with a score of 5.87.

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The UK scored consistently highly across all 6 metrics, although it could be argued that owning several credit cards is not necessarily a sign of being fintech savvy!

Look out for a trend towards the “digital dashboard”, an interactive, intuitive and AI-driven platform capable of storing details of multiple different bank accounts, credit cards and personal wealth management services, and using the aggregated data to make smart recommendations about managing finances for both businesses and individuals.