The Global Payments Survey Project and Country Cash Profiles

In 2008, IACA’s Board recognized that the cash community needs reliable data about consumer payments as a basis for understanding trends in cash use. Consumer payments data provide a useful foundation for decisions by both central banks and suppliers related to investments and policy-making. IACA has an international perspective on cash payments, one that helps its members understand how developments and trends in one country or region may be a model or precursor for local developments. To develop robust, reliable international data about payments, IACA undertook a Global Payment Study Project (GPSP) that focuses on all types of consumer retail payments, not just cash, as the trends across payment types help to inform an understanding of how cash payments may evolve.

After an initial literature review, IACA organized a series of Central Bank Forums on Consumer Payment Surveys that brought together central bank researchers to meet each other, learn about their research programs, and exchange perspectives on consumer payment surveys. Economists from 7 of the central banks joined to develop a report published in 2014 entitled Consumer Cash Usage: A Cross-Country Comparison with Payment Diary Survey Data, in which they recognized IACA’s role in facilitating their collaboration.

IACA’s Executive Director has followed the research developments in consumer payments and periodically reports on trends to IACA delegates, and the cash industry more broadly, through conference presentations and participation in other events.

IACA now offers its delegates data about cash trends through a series of Country Cash Profiles. The profiles are designed to provide cash practitioners with a snapshot of trends in available data, and to offer central banks reference points for comparisons. With a view to highlighting the major trends related to cash in circulation, consumer payments, and counterfeiting, the profiles contain high-level graphics rather than large amounts of data or in-depth charts and tables.1 We have sourced data from the Bank of International Settlements (BIS), law enforcement agencies, and central bank reports and diary studies. Our delegates can read a profile to understand the major trends and, if interested in further information, easily refer to the original sources, which are cited.

We have designed the profiles to focus on individual countries but to provide data that is, to the extent possible, comparable across countries. The data from the BIS on topics such as currency in circulation and CPI inflation is standardized, but each central bank or country collects and shares different consumer payments and counterfeiting data. Broadly speaking, the profiles are intended to provide overall levels data and trends that are analogous, but we are only reporting on work done by others; we have not harmonized data.

1 We used this approach both because of limits in our resources and a focus on the types of data that are likely to be of interest to cash practitioners.

The profiles are organized such that currency in circulation comes first, followed by payments, counterfeiting, and then general data related to cards, ATMs, and inflation. This order emphasizes the data we expect to be most useful for cash practitioners.

The data can be found under the individual country tabs. Where the data categories may be comparable, buttons will appear on the screen.