Turkey: The Journey to a Cashless Society

When I travel around the world and meet with leaders in financial technology, they are frequently surprised to learn about the highly ambitious goal set by Turkey: to become a cashless society by 2023.

About 10 years ago, only 20% of total household consumption was conducted via cards. Today, this ratio is around 40%. Although Turkey is a cash-heavy country with a population of 80 million, the country is aiming to become fully cashless by 2023.

The benefits of going cashless are clear for Turks. According to recent research by Turkey’s Interbank Card Center, every 1,000 Turkish Lira (roughly USD$185) spent by credit card increases GDP by 1,750 TL (roughly USD $325) and that the economy gains 20 TL (USD $3.75) in tax revenue from every 1,000 TL (USD $185) spent by card.

Beyond economic gains, cashless societies also facilitate access to financial services for a greater number of people compared to their cash-heavy counterparts. Cur ...

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