Ever since computers were first introduced into the retail banking system in the late 1950s, there has been the vision of a future world where cash is obsolete. The near death of personal cheques, increase in debit and credit card use, and innovations such as PayPal, Square, Apple Pay and Bitcoin, have led us to believe the cashless society is well within our reach.

But data from Retail Banking Research, one of the most authoritative sources in the area, suggests that even though cashless payments are growing rapidly across the world, hard currency remains resilient. This trend was corroborated by a study commissioned by the ATM Industry Association of a panel of 13 countries. It suggested that global demand for cash grew 4.5 percent between 2009 and 2013 (when the latest figures were available).

So 50 years into the journey and we are still not there yet. However, a number of innovations have taken place around the world. Here’s how different continents stack up.

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