For the first time since paper money was invented some 1,000 years ago, a future where cash is no longer king seems possible. Card and digital payments are on the rise around the world, and consumers are increasingly going cashless for even small-dollar transactions. But a totally cash-free future is far from guaranteed. Central banks are printing more cash than ever, and while some see digital payments as a solution for the world’s underbanked population, others see a cashless economy as inherently discriminatory.
Quartz’s latest presentation reveals the complex forces reshaping how global consumers use cash—from the booming business of fintech to the benefits of paper money that digital payments just can’t beat.