Global Leaders in Digital Transactions: Changing the Way to Pay

published on: May 9, 2024 last updated on: June 22, 2024
countries with highest digital transactions

Digital transformation is everywhere. Countries with the highest digital transactions are boosting their economy quickly. The finance sector also shows the same trend. The concept of cash payment is becoming backdated.

People use digital payment modes like mobile wallets, e-wallets, debit and credit cards, contactless cards, and tap-and-pay options. Does this seem familiar?

Do you also find others using these methods for payment? Here, you may wonder why digital transactions are growing popular. You have landed in the right place if you seek answers to these questions.

Higher use of digital transactions depends on many important factors. Some of these are government policies, the use of digital methods by merchants, and people’s banking literacy.

Describing Digital Transactions

Describing digital transactions

Digital transactions take place only. It mainly refers to payment transactions. However, neither paper nor cash is required in digital transactions.

In a digital transaction, you use an RFID ecosystem to safely transfer funds to another bank account. That, too, happens in real-time. Moreover, you get the security of an encrypted transfer window every time you pay digitally. 

There are many types of digital payment transactions. However, mobile wallets and contactless cards are mainly used. Some countries with the highest digital transactions, like the UK and the US, prefer contactless cards. 

However, countries like India favor digital wallets more. Are you wondering which are the countries with the highest digital transactions? I have also covered the same in detail. 

Countries like India have shown disruptive growth in digital transactions since 2018. Firstly, the launch of UPI boosted digital payments in India. Secondly, Google Pay launched a popular digital wallet over UPI. 

Benefits of Digital Transactions

Benefits of digital transactions

Most users prefer digital transactions for their speed and simplicity. What do you like about it? 

I like digital payment because it’s contactless. In contactless payments, the risk of theft or fraud is lower. Americans also like digital transactions, which use biometrics for authentication. 

Biometrics are the safest by far. Your fingerprint or face scan does not have a parallel. Hence, nobody can impersonate you and take your money. 

There are other economic benefits to digital payments. All countries with a strong record of digital transactions have got their microeconomic equations right. 

Its ease of use and high-security level motivate customers to purchase more frequently. Even if there are small transactions, it mobilizes the economies of countries with the highest levels of digital transactions. 

I find that small grocery or QSR store sales have increased since they started accepting digital payments. 

Countries With the Highest Digital Transactions

Almost all emerging and developed nations are interested in flourishing digital transactions. Countries with the highest digital transactions, like Norway, also made most transactions in banks digitally. I compared the approaches of multiple countries towards digital transactions, focusing on detail.



Sweden is on the path of becoming cashless. There are only 32 ATMs in Sweden for 100,000 people. As a result, you can say that Swedish people are no longer interested in transacting with cash. 

What Swedish banks did right was quickly introduce all customers to debit cards. Today, 98% of them hold EMV cards. Statista also shows that 60% of the digital transactions in Sweden are mobile payments, the highest in the world. 

Experts also think that Sweden will reject cash usage by 2024. 



China has always been a champion in microeconomics. One such masterstroke was boosting digital transactions by introducing the “Digital Yen.” The USA is also running pilot projects to launch a digital currency for the central bank.

By 2022, China circulated payments worth $ 13.68 billion through its digital currency. Already, 87.3% of Chinese are using some form of digital payment. 

Two factors are responsible for the exponential growth of digital transactions in China. Whenever you search for Countries with the highest digital transactions, you get the name China in the top searches. 

Firstly, the Chinese government made aggressive decisions to make digital transactions popular. Alipay and WeChat were launched as domestic Chinese apps for digital payments. 

Secondly, their government highly motivated people to use these digital channels for payment. Merchants received small token cashback for accepting digital payments. People also get virtual bonuses to download and use mobile wallets. 

In conclusion, these two methodical approaches helped China to excel in digital transactions. 



One of the countries with the highest digital transactions in digital transactions is Norway. It is also one of the few countries where 100% of people have a bank account. 

Fintech Magazine outlined that: 

“Data shows that in 2021, only between 2 and 3% of transactions at the point of sale in Norway were carried out using cash.”

I researched further to find that around 75% of the card payments were contactless in the country. 

So, it seems Norway has mastered digital wallet usage and contactless card payments. In my observation, Norway is also the leader in peer-to-peer payments using digital wallets. I emphasize peer-to-peer payments as the face of countries with the highest digital transactions. 

Countries where people keep money to themselves might suffer from higher inflation. The income disparity in such countries also rises. However, digital methods made payments easier, increasing the number of small-scale transactions. 



Finns were never the best in business. However, they cracked the code of becoming a leader among countries with the highest digital transactions. They are one of the few countries that will emerge cashless very soon. I realized that Finland wanted to emphasize the use of contactless cards. According to experts, it is the most advanced technology in digital payments. 

The Finnish government and federal agency researched countries with the highest digital transactions. They realized that contactless cards are the most trustworthy. 

If not significant trademarks, Finland sharply increased small-scale trade. That is why the rate of ecommerce transactions has been so scalable in Finland.



The USA is one of the countries that started using digital payments profusely in 2017. The use aggravated during the Covid. In the USA, the use cases of digital payments increased to 89% in 2022. 

However, McKinsey found something more unique about digital transactions in the US. About 62% of people use multiple modes of digital payments. As a result, Samsung Pay launched their app in the US market recently. However, wallets like PayPal and Apple Pay already exist in the US market.

United Kingdom

United Kingdom

The UK is the hub of global tourism. A smart move by the government was to partner with Visa to facilitate cashless tours for international travelers. The number of digital transactions increased as a result. International travelers also made high-value transactions.

From 2020 to 2022, the UK showed a 35% reduction in the use of cash at the point of sale. Therefore, the UK will also become cashless in the future. However, cash is still a significant means of transaction in the country.



India’s journey to become a forerunner in digital transactions is unique. As of July 2022, about 1.4 billion people did not have bank accounts in India. 

However, federal policies were launched to drive toward digital transactions. Community campaigns to open bank accounts with no minimum balance were successful in India. After that, Google Pay, Bhim UPI, and other apps were launched. 

UPI and QR payments were India’s most advanced forms of contactless payments. I feel that these are better than contactless cards, too. 

Wrapping Up……..

All the countries that excel in digital transactions have unique journeys. The Scandinavian countries are leaders in digital transactions. I could probably not discuss all the countries that championed digital transactions. However, I captured the most successful trends.  Research shows that many countries will soon be cashless. However, none of the countries have completely warded off cash usage. It will be interesting to see how a cashless economy operates.

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Ankita Tripathy

Ankita Tripathy loves to write about food and the Hallyu Wave in particular. During her free time, she enjoys looking at the sky or reading books while sipping a cup of hot coffee. Her favourite niches are food, music, lifestyle, travel, and Korean Pop music and drama.

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