In the Asia-Pacific, cash is fighting tooth and nail with emerging digital payment methods and is seemingly winning the race.
The region is now home to more than half of ATMs worldwide, which is helping drive use of cash, according to RBR’s latest forecast.
With countries in the Indian subcontinent and the rest of Southeast Asia, including Bangladesh, India, Pakistan and the Philippines, refocusing their efforts to improve financial inclusion, there has been solid growth in the availability of cash via ATMs in remote areas over the last three years. Just between 2015 and 2017, the number of ATMs in the Asia-Pacific region increased from 1.55 million to 1.72 million and are projected to reach 2 million by end of 2022, the RBR research found.
And, while Southeast Asian countries are collectively contributing to both the growth in use of cash and the availability of ATMs in the region, China seems to be the driving force behind the growth. The country of 1.38 billion people reportedly added the most ATMs in 2016 with local banks seeking to gain new customers and better serving existing customers in underserved areas.
In the coming years, as the growth in availability of ATMs isn’t likely to slow down, the overall demand for cash is projected to further swell. By 2020, some $8.1 trillion in cash is projected to be used for payments in the Asia-Pacific region, according to the PYMNTS Global Cash Index Asia-Pacific Edition.
While the growth in use of digital payments has affected use of cash, rapid GDP growth of countries in the region has instead helped drive cash’s transaction volume.
Since 2010, the GDP of 14 countries analyzed in the PYMNTS Global Cash Index Asia-Pacific Edition grew by 7.3 percent (weighted by country GDP) — with a low of 0.7 percent in Japan and a high of 11.8 percent in India. With that, cash is on track to continue leading the way.
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About the Index
The PYMNTS.com Global Cash Index™, a Cardtronics collaboration, focuses on the use of cash for making payments — and as a payment method that equally plays a role with cards, checks, direct debit and other methods of settling up between consumers and businesses. Unlike most reported estimates of cash, our proprietary data analysis focuses on the use of cash for making payments rather than hoarding.