Why Are Some Countries More Cashless Than Others?

Posted by Allison on 28 July 2014, 13:58

Although there are countries like the UK that use cards for payments of all kinds, there are ones that have not embraced the modernity presented to us by card payments. Some countries work if not completely on cash then almost completely.

Malaysia is a good example of how different things can be in other countries. While we Brits prefer to pay by card for many things, more than half of Malaysians prefer good old cash. Only a fifth of them would use a credit card as their usual way of paying for things.

However the Malaysians are not the most cash-friendly society by far. That title goes to the Philippines. The same survey found that 74% of them – almost three-quarters of those polled – preferred to deal with cash rather than using any kind of card.

You tend to see this a lot in other countries in different parts of the world. Western countries love their plastic and use it a lot for the most part. We’re not always so good at paying off those rising balances each month though. In contrast many Eastern countries prefer the idea of dealing with their own currency in notes and coins. Developing economies tend to be associated with cash transactions more than anything else.

This is something to bear in mind if you are thinking of visiting another country on holiday. It is easy to assume everyone else works the same way you do and to take the cards you’d usually use to pay with at home. You’ll get your foreign currency too of course, either before you go or at the airport. However you may find if you visit somewhere such as Malaysia, you’ll need more cash than you originally thought to sustain you on a holiday there.

As you can see it helps enormously to learn a little about the place you are going to when you are thinking about how much foreign currency to take with you. Learning about the habits of the people who live there is just as important as preparing for the rest of your holiday.

So if you go to a developing country rather than one that is already well-developed, you might find you use more cash than you thought.