In 2016, for the first time ever, consumers will spend a greater amount with cards than they do with cash, according to the market-research firm Euromonitor International. They figure that consumers worldwide will spend about $23.2 trillion in card payment transactions and $22.6 trillion in cash.
Cash is still used much more frequently. Cash is used for about 85 percent of transactions worldwide, but that can mostly be attributed to the popularity of using cash for small transactions, according to research from MasterCard and management consulting firm McKinsey.
The rise of debit cards is another reason why cash has declined in recent years. Debit card use worldwide grew about 8 percent in terms of cards in circulation from 2015 and 2016. By that same measure, credit card use grew about 5 percent worldwide.