• JANUARY 2019: 
  • Love for cash remains strong globally
  • When it comes to Acceptance, understanding and education remains an issue for digital methods
  • Usage of fintech and digital-only is higher in payments than in any other banking activity

Latest research from global, data-driven business insights provider RFi Group reveals new statistics, comparisons, similarities and differences between cash, mobile, acceptance and fintech globally.


Across the UK, despite the drive to digital, customers are still reliant on cash, with 72% of UK consumers using cash in a typical month (1 in 4 aren’t), slightly behind Australia’s 67% (where 1 in 3 aren’t).

Over to Canada, although cash usage - particularly on low value purchases (like coffee & newspapers etc.) - remains dominant, dependence on cash is decreasing among millennials with 1 in 2 Canadian millennials imagining a cashless society.

In Canada and the US, unlike other global western markets, cheque usage remains wide, but consumer’s willingness to use them is beginning to decrease.



When it comes to contactless (Card or Mobile) usage in Canada, RFi Group has seen a growth from 13% - 21% in the last 12 months alone - indicating an opportunity for mobile wallets and other types of payments apps to increase, with a growing appetite for this method especially popular among millennials. Specifically, bank wallets win in the security and reliability stakes, while third-party wallets lead with perceptions of acceptance, and ease of use.


Alternatively, Australia has seen relatively low uptake of mobile wallets, with a slim 14% of consumers having used one, whereas in the UK, usage is more widespread at 23%.


RFi Group’s Group Commercial Director, Eleanor Page adds;


“The above findings are especially interesting given what we are seeing in Asia, where mobile wallet usage is soaring ahead, with 76% of consumers in China, 55% of consumers in India, 50% of consumers in Hong Kong and 44% of consumers in Singapore all having used a mobile wallet. These figures are so much higher than their western counterparts.”




Looking to drivers and barriers for mobile wallet usage/ acceptance, there was a recurring theme in Australia, the UK and Canada – all where Contactless usage and acceptance is very high – around education and perception.


In the UK, only 31% of card accepting merchants accept mobile wallets as a form of payment, with the figure only slightly higher in Australia at 33%.


“In Canada, perception of low merchant acceptance is one of the main barriers to mobile wallet usage – We have seen that many merchants simply don’t accept mobile wallets because they think customers don’t use them… and many customers don’t use them because they think merchants don’t accept them.” Said Cyrielle Chiron, Managing Director - North and Latin America, RFi Group


“The biggest barrier to mobile wallet usage in the UK is simply lack of perceived need, highlighting the challenge to uptake in markets where contactless adoption is reaching saturation point. Security concerns also feature strongly as a barrier to uptake. The education piece needs to factor this in as well as acceptance. Added Victoria Bateman, Managing Director - EMEA RFi Group


This insight reveals that education is key in terms of this acceptance race, with consumers indicating that it is simply not obvious what is accepted and where.




Globally, the usage of fintech and digital-only providers remains higher in the payments space than in any other banking activity (64% of consumers globally are comfortable using a digital-only provider for their payment needs). Asia aside – there is overall growth in fintech usage but still at a relatively measured rate.


Usage of fintech does of course differ by country and as has been the trend until now, remains lower in Canada than other similar markets, such as Australia and the UK.


“Canada is an interesting anomaly when it comes to fintech in payments. It is not that Canadians are not interested in fintech players, rather - at least at this stage - our data shows they are already satisfied with the way the Canadian interbank network Interac and existing banks have been addressing their payments needs.” Cyrielle Chiron, Managing Director - North and Latin America, RFi Group


In the UK, 17% of UK consumers have used a FinTech provider with Transferwise (3%), Monzo (2%), Revolut (2%), Atom Bank (2%) and Go Cardless (2%) as the top 5. Meanwhile, in Australia, 25% of consumers have used a FinTech, with Buy Now Pay Later services such as Afterpay (10%) and zip (5%) having the highest rates of current usage, followed by Transferwise (3%) EziPay (3%) and Raiz (formerly Acorns) (2%).


Overall, consumers indicate that ‘saves me money’ (64%), ‘easier to use’ (56%) and ‘easier to apply’ (44%) are the top 3 drivers of choosing a FinTech over a more traditional alternative globally.

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Chloé James
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+1 437 221 4905

RFi Group is a global data-driven insights provider exclusively focused on financial services. We specialise in data and information gathering, customer-based insight generation and business decision support for the world’s leading financial service providers, as well as challengers, disruptive market participants and companies aligned to the FS sector.

We combine global intelligence and local knowledge to provide insightful, valuable and actionable recommendations, with a core focus on the provision of exceptional client service.

​Covering 48 key global markets, with regional offices in Toronto, London, Singapore and Sydney RFi Group consistently provides clients with tailored advice and insights relevant to their specific market and business needs.