Global Study Highlights Economic Benefits of ‘Cashless Cities’
“Cashless Cities: Realizing the Benefits of Digital Payments”, is a unique study that quantifies the potential net benefits experienced by cities which move to an “achievable level of cashlessness”—defined as the entire population of a city moving to digital payment usage equal to the top 10% of users in that city today. The study does not look at eliminating cash. Rather, it seeks to quantify the potential benefits and costs of significantly increasing the use of digital payments.
By reducing reliance on cash, the study estimates the immediate and long-term benefits for three main groups—consumers, businesses and governments. According to the study, these benefits could add up to combined direct net benefits of approximately U.S.
- Consumers across the 100 cities could achieve nearly
$28 billionper year in estimated direct net benefits. This impact would be derived from factors including up to 3.2 billion hours in time savings conducting banking, retail and transit transactions, in addition to a reduction in cash-related crime.
- Businesses across the 100 cities could achieve more than
$312 billionper year in estimated direct benefits. This impact would derived from factors including up to 3.1 billion hours in time savings processing incoming and outgoing payments and increased sales revenues stemming from extended online and in-store customer bases. The study also found that accepting cash and checks costs businesses 7.1 centsof every dollar received compared to 5 centsof every dollar collected from digital sources.
- Governments across the 100 cities could achieve nearly
$130 billionper year in estimated direct benefits. This impact would be derived from factors including increased tax revenues, increased economic growth, cost savings from administrative efficiencies and lower criminal justice costs due to reduced cash-related crime.
“This study demonstrates the substantial upside for consumers, businesses and governments as cities move toward greater adoption of digital payments,” said
As cities increase use of digital payments, the positive impacts can extend beyond financial benefits to consumers, businesses, and government. The shift to digital payments also may have a catalytic effect on the city’s overall economic performance, including GDP, employment, wage, and productivity growth.
“The use of digital technologies—from smart phones and wearables to artificial intelligence and driverless cars—is rapidly transforming how city dwellers shop, travel, and live,” said
“Cashless Cities: Realizing the Benefits of Digital Payments” offers 61 recommendations for policymakers to help their cities become more efficient through greater adoption of digital payments. Recommendations include undertaking financial literacy programs to help move the unbanked into the banking system, implementing incentives to stimulate innovation focused on scaling new payment technologies, implementing secure open-loop payment systems across all transportation networks and more.
Visa and Roubini Thoughtlab created an online data visualization tool as a companion to “Cashless Cities: Realizing the Benefits of Digital Payments.” Using the data visualization tool, individuals can increase or decrease the level of digital usage in each of the 100 cities included in the study to better explore the benefits of a world, less dependent on cash. Visit the online data visualization tool and download the report at: www.visa.com/cashlesscities.
Roubini Thoughtlab, a leading economics and evidence-based research firm, surveyed 3,000 consumers and 900 businesses in 2016 across six cities (
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