“How far are we from a restaurant that says we only take online payment? If you eat here, you have to download this application, and we only take electronic payment, no cash here, no check. I don’t think we are that far away from it,” Sohn told CNBC on Friday.
According to the World Payments Report 2017, the volume of non-cash transactions surged 11.2 percent between 2014 and 2015, reaching $433.1 billion — the highest growth in the past decade. The driver is emerging Asia, where non-cash transactions surged 43.4 percent. Emerging markets contributed to 32.1 percent of the global growth.
Sohn said the killer of cash could be bitcoin, American Express, MasterCard or something else, but “the next step is moving away from paper-based currencies.”
In 2015, debit cards accounted for the highest share (46.7 percent) of global non-cash transactions, followed by credit cards (19.5 percent). Checks, which are still popular in the United States, are being ousted by more modern payment systems and were the only non-cash payment that lost share.
However, cash continues to play the leading role in payments, especially for low-value transactions such as “payment for food and personal care supplies, general merchandise, and gifts.”
The authors of the report predicted cash would continue to stay in the system “for a longer term than estimated.”