Capgemini’s annual payments survey showed the war on cash is being lost at a global level, with cash in circulation outstripping non-cash payments by 2 percentage points in 2008.
Non-cash payments grew by 9 percent, compared to cash, which increased by 11 percent. Bertrand Lavayssière, managing director of global financial services for Capgemini, a consultancy, was at a loss to explain why.
“There are certain countries in Europe – Italy, Spain and Germany – which prefer cash for cultural reasons,” he said.
“Why cash is growing more quickly we do not know – but we usually see it growing most in the same regions and areas.”
Lavayssière said the main beneficiaries of a shift from cash to electronic payments were banks and retailers, but said notes and coins clearly remained practical for consumers.
“Maybe this will change with the focus on reducing low-value transactions, and the development of e-wallets,” he added.
The main highlights from the Capgemini report were on the growth of non-cash payments and the impacts of increasing regulation on the payments industry. In addition, Lavayssière said bankers need to “wake up and take into account that the industry is changing quickly”.
In particular, they need to focus on replacing revenue streams lost in the financial crisis and investing in systems to comply with SEPA deadlines, expected to be announced by the European Commission this month.