Latest European Payment Trends: Cash Still On Top

Ricard Tomé
Posted by Ricard Tomé
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An ECB study on consumer behaviour shows cash is still the main payment instrument by volume and value in the euro area.

To better understand consumer demand and evolving market trends, the European Central Bank (ECB) regularly publishes data on the preferred payment methods of euro area citizens.

This data helps the ECB and other central banks to set its cash strategies as a part of their commitment to “keep cash accessible and accepted as a means of payment”.

Predominance of Cash Continues

Its latest piece of research, the Study on the Payment Attitudes of Consumers in the Euro Area, was published in December 2020 and revealed the following key findings for 2019:

• 73% of all transactions in the euro area were carried out using cash

• Cash represented 48% of the total value of all payments made by consumers

• Cards continue to be the second most used payment instrument and contactless technology was used for more than one in three card transactions

• On average, euro area citizens made 1.6 POS and P2P transactions per day at an average value of €25.6

• 48% of the POS and P2P transactions were conducted in local shops for day-to-day retail purchases (shops, supermarkets, street markets) and 19% in restaurants, bars, cafés and hotels

euro-banknotes-ECB-study

Attitudes Towards Cash

Despite an increase in the popularity of cashless payment instruments, the use of cash remains high as does the way it is valued.

When asked to rate the importance of cash as a payment option, 55% of euro area citizens considered it important or very important.

"A majority of euro area citizens would still like to have the choice of paying with cash," the study concluded.

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